Berghof Glossary on Conflict Transformation

The Berghof Glossary on Conflict Transformation presents 20 of the main principles and approaches used by the Berghof Foundation in its work. It is a concise and accessible exploration of what it takes to create “space for conflict transformation”. 2019 edition.

The Berghof Glossary on Conflict Transformation presents 20 of the main principles and approaches used by the Berghof Foundation in its work. It is a concise and accessible exploration of what it takes to create “space for conflict transformation”. 2019 edition.


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ong>Berghofong> ong>Glossaryong> on Conflict

Transformation and Peacebuilding

20 essays on theory and practice

ong>Berghofong> ong>Glossaryong>

on Conflict Transformation

and Peacebuilding

20 essays on theory and practice

ong>Berghofong> Foundation (ed.)


© ong>Berghofong> Foundation Operations GmbH

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10969 Berlin


Phone +49 (0)30 844154-0

Fax +49 (0)30 844154-99


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ISBN 978-3-941514-36-2

2019 ong>Berghofong> Foundation Operations GmbH

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under CC BY-ND 4.0 DE.

Quotation permitted and welcome. Please address derivatives requests to ong>Berghofong>

Foundation Operations GmbH: info@berghof-foundation.org


Editorial team: Beatrix Austin, with Hans J. Giessmann, Andreas

Schädel and Ali Annan

Layout: Edenspiekermann, Christoph Lang

Language Editing and Proofreading: Hillary Crowe, Beatrix Austin

Photo selection: Astrid Fischer




1. Addressing Social Grievances

2. Averting Humiliation: Dignity, Justice, Trust

3. Breaking Deadlocks: Peace Process Support

4. Building and Sustaining Peace

5. Dealing with the Past and Transitional Justice

6. Educating for Peace

7. Empowerment and Ownership

8. Engaging Donors

9. Establishing Infrastructures for Peace

10. Facilitating Negotiation and Dialogue

11. Fostering Human Security

12. Gender and Youth: Changing Perspective

13. Inclusivity and Participation: Working Together

14. Learning Together: Monitoring, Evaluating, Reflecting

15. Mediation and Mediation Support

16. Preventing Violence

17. Providing Conflict-Sensitive Refugee Assistance

18. Researching Conflict Transformation

19. Transforming Conflict

20. Working on Conflict Dynamics: Escalation

and Radicalisation


About ong>Berghofong> Foundation

11 Milestones

Photo Credits



ANC African National Congress, South Africa

CPN-M Communist Party of Nepal – Maoist


Basque separatist group Euskadi Ta Askatasuna


European Union

GRIT Graduated Reciprocal Reductions in Tension

ECOWAS Economic Community of West African States


Infrastructure(s) for Peace

IGAD Intergovernmental Authority on Development


Kosovo Liberation Army

M-19 Movimiento 19 de Abril, Colombia

M & E Monitoring and evaluation

NGO Non-governmental organisation

OECD Organisation for Economic Co-operation

and Development

OECD-DAC Development Assistance Committee of the

Organisation for Economic Co-operation

and Development

OSCE Organization for Security and Co-operation

in Europe

SIPRI Stockholm International Peace Research Institute

UGTT Tunisian General Labour Union (Union Générale

Tunisienne du Travail)


United Nations

UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific

and Cultural Organization

US(A) United States (of America)

USD US Dollar



“People need hope and inspiration desperately. But hope and

inspiration are only sustained by work.”

Tarana Burke

The ong>Berghofong> ong>Glossaryong> on Conflict Transformation presents the

main principles and approaches that we use in our work, which

supports people and conflict parties around the world in creating

a more peaceful future.

For a second time, the team at the ong>Berghofong> Foundation has embarked

on a joint exploration in order to chart a shared understanding

of what it takes to create “space for conflict transformation”.

It has been seven years since we first published this small

and compact booklet as a guide to our interpretation of the cornerstones

of peacebuilding and conflict transformation (ong>Berghofong>

Foundation 2012). The organisation, and the world around us,

has changed considerably in these seven years since 2012 (illustrated,

for example, by the Annual Reports for 2013 and 2017, and

Sheriff et al. 2018).

Nationally and internationally, the space for inclusive and constructive

peacebuilding has begun to shrink measurably. The use

of force, polarisation and oppression are gaining ground again,

despite having proven to be less effective and more costly, as

is argued, for example, by Lisa Schirch. The proponents of the

inclusive and constructive approach must therefore get their

“ducks in a row” and their message clear. (A need underlined by

a 2018 report on the topic of supporting peacebuilding in times

of change). We can take courage and strength from a number of

countervailing trends, such as the opening of new spaces and

partnerships, and the willingness of international bodies and

national governments to endorse, sometimes on paper first, a

strong peacebuilding rhetoric and agenda.



At the ong>Berghofong> Foundation, we remain convinced that conflict

transformation can succeed. It will not do so, however, without

the dedication and hard work of actors across all levels and

sectors. Importantly, conflict transformation and peacebuilding

must be led (and wanted) by the actors involved in violent

conflict and escalation, who control the drivers and duration of

the conflicts. Both the involved parties and their transformationorientated

supporters must also take seriously the emerging uncertainties

and challenges, which require new approaches and

realistic risk assessment.

For peacebuilding proponents, there are numerous worrying

trends which, at the time of writing, have started to point towards

an emerging crisis of the entire international order. One

visible expression of this crisis is the weakening of existing multilateral

regimes governing areas such as arms control, international

trade and regional cooperation. Some national conflicts

have become proxy wars – as in Yemen, Syria or Eastern Ukraine,

to mention only a few – primarily at the expense of a suffering local

population. Other conflicts have increasingly spilled violence

over national boundaries, thereby creating zones of regional instability,

particularly in parts of the Middle East and Africa.

Another worrying development, related to manifold social grievances,

is the sharpening political polarisation in a number of

democratic states, which – in domestic and in international contexts

– appears to make strategies based on political paternalism

and exclusion more attractive to many people than cooperative

approaches. Many countries in the Global South rely on the support

provided by democratic donor countries. If this support is

vanishing, millions of people in these countries may lose hope

that building peace will benefit them at all.

However, if there is one tangible lesson to be learned from the

past, it is that neither power politics nor exclusion will ever

lead to sustainable peace. Rather than being discouraged by

the uncertainties and frictions in the international political en-



vironment, we take them as a call for analysis and action. We

are convinced that inclusive and participatory spaces for conflict

transformation have become even more important in preventing

fragile peace processes from losing momentum or breaking


Credibly holding on to our values is of utmost importance in this

context. We must undertake more efforts to anticipate the implications

of these changes for our work, to adapt to new challenges

and/or to seize new opportunities in a timely and convincing

manner. New political constellations – nationally and internationally

– may create risks but also new opportunities for communication

and exchange.

In light of this, some of the 20 notions in the previous edition of

this booklet remain cornerstones of our understanding and practice:

we understand conflict to be a necessary and useful force for

change, rather than a danger to be suppressed or managed. We

strongly believe that principles of (local) ownership and responsibility,

empowerment, non-violence, participation and inclusivity

must guide our work. We take guidance from those in conflict

and are multipartial towards those experiencing sometimes violent

strife. We shape dialogue and facilitate negotiation processes

in the role of a supporting actor. We know that the legacies of

a violent past must be addressed in contemporary peacebuilding

processes. And we believe that human security, dignity and trust

are important values to uphold. While these approaches remain

central to our work, with this edition of the ong>Glossaryong> we are also

reviewing the ways in which they needed to adjust given the new

trends in our peacebuilding environment.

Some notions have already gained new prominence in our understanding

and practice in response to these trends: the creation of

innovative and locally designed infrastructures for peace, or the

re-focusing of attention also on our home country of Germany,

where our peace education team has adopted conflict-sensitive

approaches to the integration of refugees. These areas highlight



needs and new spaces of engagement to which we enthusiastically

bring our curiosity and experience.

From in between these notions, “the ong>Berghofong> approach” or the

ong>Berghofong> spirit” emerges. Like the best aspirations in life, it

sometimes remains elusive, but continues to be the organisational

method we are aspiring to and working towards. First and

foremost, the ong>Berghofong> approach emphasises the importance of

Relationships and long-term relationship-building

Working with local partners and conflict parties

Multi-faceted designs and peer learning, also and

importantly from “south to south”

Weaving together research and practice

Allowing for the transformative power of conflict

Our approach builds on the principles of multipartiality, by which

we take the legitimate concerns and interests of all parties involved

in – or affected by – a (violent) conflict into account (for

more information, see our Annual Report 2017). In the following,

we reflect on conflict transformation and peacebuilding in theory

and practice in more detail, by adding examples as well as challenges

arising in our daily work. We hope you will discover and be

enticed by these definitions and nuances in equal measure.

This collection of essays would not have been possible without

the engagement of our colleagues in Germany and beyond. They

have made time, beyond their demanding work in peace education,

peace process support and conflict transformation research,

to sit together in novel constellations across the entire organisation

to debate and work out what it means, for example, to

facilitate dialogue between conflict parties. Or to meaningfully

integrate youth. Or to deal with the past.

Our thanks go to all of these colleagues, and the ones who have

before them showed the same dedication to the first edition of

the ong>Glossaryong>. Our essays stand, sometimes quite “literally”, on

the shoulders of those contributing to the first edition of this



booklet: namely Beatrix Austin, Anna Bernhard, Véronique Dudouet,

Martina Fischer, Hans J. Giessmann, Günther Gugel, Javaid

Hayat, Amy Hunter, Uli Jäger, Daniela Körppen, Ljubinka

Petrovic-Ziemer, Katrin Planta, Nadine Ritzi, Anne Romund,

Norbert Ropers, Barbara Unger, Luxshi Vimalarajah, Oliver Wils,

Oliver Wolleh and Johannes Zundel. Some of these colleagues

have since left to go on to work with other organisations that

foster peace and conflict transformation. We hope they will read

this new edition with interest and inspiration.

We continue to be grateful for the support of the ong>Berghofong> Foundation’s

shareholders and management who have seen the usefulness

of such a broad-based process of developing a shared understanding

of the notions we operate with in the conflict world.

Thanks go, last but by no means least, to the local teams and

partners with whom we work in many demanding settings and

who are the judges of our engagement, by our deeds as much as

our words.

Berlin, December 2018


ong>Berghofong> Foundation (2018). Annual Report 2017. Berlin: ong>Berghofong> Foundation.



ong>Berghofong> Foundation (2014). Annual Report 2013. Berlin: ong>Berghofong> Foundation,



ong>Berghofong> Foundation (ed.) (2012). ong>Berghofong> ong>Glossaryong> on Conflict Transformation. 20

notions for theory and practice. Berlin: ong>Berghofong> Foundation. Also available

in German, Thai and Turkish. https://www.berghof-foundation.org/en/


Lisa Schirch (2018). The State of Peacebuilding 2018. Twelve Observations. Blog.

26 November 2018. https://lisaschirch.wordpress.com/2018/11/26/thestate-of-peacebuilding-2018-twelve-observations/

Andrew Sherriff et al. (2018). Supporting Peacebuilding in Times of Change.

Brussels: ECDPM http://ecdpm.org/wp-content/uploads/ECDPM-2018-



Addressing Social Grievances

1 Addressing

Social Grievances

Sara Abbas, Matteo Dressler and Nicole Rieber

“Nonviolence does not always work – but violence never does.”

Madge Micheels-Cyrus

Many current violent conflicts are rooted in group-based

grievances arising from inequality, exclusion, lack of opportunities

to satisfy basic needs (food, healthcare, education),

poor governance or feelings of injustice. When an aggrieved

group is mobilised and assigns blame to others (to an ethnic

or religious group or to an authority or state) for its perceived

political, economic or social problems, those grievances can

cross the tipping point into social upheaval and violence.

However, there are numerous non-violent ways for those in-


Addressing Social Grievances

SOCIAL GRIEVANCE | the perception of a socially defined group

that it suffers from systematic inequality, exclusion, lack of opportunity

to satisfy basic needs, and other disadvantage. Social

grievance is often at the root of conflict. When groups mobilise,

they may take violent or non-violent action to address social

grievance. Conflict transformation and peacebuilding support

groups and mobilisers in choosing non-violent means while taking

grievances seriously.

NON-VIOLENCE | a philosophy and practice that holds the use

of force to be morally and politically illegitimate or counterproductive

and strives to find non-violent expressions of resistance

to oppression.

VIOLENCE | harmful and damaging behaviour of a physical,

structural or cultural nature, which prevents human beings from

reaching their full potential.

volved of addressing social grievance and conflicts over (in)


Drivers of social grievances

To turn into social grievances, latent inequalities have to be politicised.

Three factors stand out in this process. First, there needs

to be a perception of clearly distinguishable “groups” in society.

Second, groups must be able to compare each other’s objective

or perceived characteristics. Third, inequality or exclusion must

be seen as unjust and another group must be blamed for this

unfairness (as argued by Lars-Erik Cederman and his colleagues

in 2013). These “groups” are not fixed in time; rather, identities

are fluid and constantly being shaped and reshaped.

Many social grievances are rooted in exclusion and oppression,

which can serve as a basis for collective mobilisation and therefore

become drivers of conflict. Perceptions of exclusion can also


Addressing Social Grievances

For example …

Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta provides an example of how inequalities

and social grievances can drive people to support violence

against the state. Past decades in the Delta have seen an

increase in violence and insecurity, fuelled by income inequality,

poverty and frustrated expectations. A lack of political rights,

the socio-economic discrimination based on religion or ethnicity,

and the experience of injustice are examples of vertical and

horizontal inequalities (United Nations and World Bank 2018). In

the Niger Delta, unfair distribution of oil revenue and destroyed

livelihood opportunities have resulted in social grievances.

play an important role in turning grievances into violence. As

noted by the United Nations and World Bank (2018, 122, with reference

to research by Ted Gurr), “perceptions of exclusion and

inequality” appear to be central for building up grievances, even

when these perceptions do not align with objective inequalities.

Before exclusion patterns and grievances turn into outright

violence, they often foment over a long period. In Lebanon, for

instance, Lebanese young people and the Syrian and Palestinian

refugee communities feel particularly marginalised and

deprived due to their political, social and economic exclusion.

The resulting disenfranchisement may be the same; the drivers,

however, are different. In the case of the Lebanese youth, who

face high levels of unemployment, the issue is primarily about

state-society cleavages. In the case of the refugee communities,

it is mainly about the lack of legal and political recognition:

for example, Palestinian refugees are legally excluded from the

job market. This combination of factors has led to a wave of

radicalisation. In the 2010s, this resulted in an increase in local

clashes between supporters of extremist groups and the security



Addressing Social Grievances

In situations of protracted conflict, there is also a high risk of violence

becoming a vicious cycle, for those exposed to violence, especially

at a young age, are more likely to turn to violence themselves.

(An example is the recruitment and abuse of minors by

adults who were child soldiers themselves, aided by a degree of

habituation to violence as normality). This is particularly true if

groups or whole communities are exposed to violence over time,

a connection underlined by a 2016 ong>Berghofong> Handbook Dialogue

on post-war healing and dealing with the past.

Addressing social grievances through violence: social upheaval

Addressing horizontal and vertical inequalities and social grievances

is key to preventing conflicts from turning violent (→ Preventing

Violence). Yet in societies where the root causes of social

grievances remain unaddressed, or where avenues for non-violent

collective mobilisation are few, groups that are excluded socially,

politically or economically may begin to view violence as

the only viable option for redress. One factor that heavily influences

this dynamic is the use of repression, for example by state

security agencies against aggrieved groups’ non-violent dissent,

since repression tends to create a cycle of violence.

Peace and conflict research has tried to elucidate the origins of

violence, especially the phenomenon of escalation from latent to

violent conflict through ethnopolitical mobilisation of aggrieved

groups (→ Working on Conflict Dynamics). As Johan Galtung argued

back in 1969, systematic inequality, generated by allowing

some groups access to resources while denying it to others, is a

pervasive, normalised and largely invisible form of violence. Cultural

violence, driven by differences over religion, ideology, language,

art or science, generates abuse against “others”. Taking

these prevalent but non-physical forms of violence in consideration,

Simon Fisher and his colleagues (2000) offered a definition of

violence as “actions, words, attitudes, structures or systems that

cause physical, psychological, social or environmental damage

and/or prevent people from reaching their full human potential”.


Addressing Social Grievances

Strategies to deal with such multifaceted violence need to focus

on individual factors, structural factors and the enabling environment

– often simultaneously (→ Preventing Violence).

Since 2006, through its work on resistance and liberation movements,

the ong>Berghofong> Foundation has striven to understand why

these groups, which draw on the social grievances of parts of

the population, shift from non-violent to violent conflict strategies

and vice versa. Participatory studies on the African National

Congress (ANC) in South Africa, Movimiento 19 de Abril (M-19)

in Colombia, the Communist Party of Nepal – Maoist (CPN-M)

and the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), among others, show that

these groups viewed armed action as a last resort in the face of

state repression of non-violent protest. These resistance and liberation

movements considered violence (e. g. through guerrilla

warfare) as a legitimate form of political action and as one means

of self-defence and struggle (among others) in the face of human

rights violations. These means, violent and non-violent, were

employed, sometimes simultaneously, by the groups in response

to a changing political environment. Our approach aims at enabling

such groups to overcome grievances through means of

non-violent conflict transformation rather than the use of force.

Addressing social grievances through non-violence

Non-violence can provide an alternative strategy for aggrieved

social groups to seek redress against inequality or oppression.

Rooted in the conviction that use of force is morally illegitimate

and/or strategically counterproductive, non-violent resistance

aims to achieve social change and to resist oppression and violence

in all its forms.

Historically, non-violence has included various methods of direct

action. Gene Sharp detailed actions ranging from symbolic

protest and persuasion to social, political and economic noncooperation,

civil disobedience, confrontation without violence,

and the building of alternative institutions. Non-violent methods


Addressing Social Grievances

have achieved change through the productive demonstration of

“people power” against autocratic or repressive regimes and human

rights abuses in many places across the globe, for example

Tunisia in 2011 and Armenia in 2018.

Although non-violent resistance magnifies existing social and

political tensions by imposing greater costs on those who want

to maintain their advantages under an existing system, it can be

described as a precursor to conflict transformation. Non-violent

techniques can enable minorities or dominated groups (“the underdogs”)

to address their grievances and to mobilise and take

action towards empowerment and a restructuring of relations

with their powerful opponents (power-holders or pro-status quo

forces, “the elites” or “top dogs”). The aim is both dialogue and

resistance: dialogue with the people on the other side to persuade

them, and resistance to oppressive structures to compel

change (→ Empowerment and Ownership).

Building on its track record of investigating non-violence, the

ong>Berghofong> Foundation’s current research aims to paint a more comprehensive

picture of the social and political processes which

connect non-violent methods to democratic consolidation, in

order to foster constructive social change.

Challenges and ways forward

The success of non-violent approaches can only be judged by

carefully assessing their outcomes and effects over the long term.

A new area of critical inquiry in this context is social media.

Social media have proven to be a double-edged sword: on the

one hand, they offer new avenues for expressing grievances and

engaging in constructive dialogue. On the other hand, they can

become a platform where grievances are actually channelled

toward violence, for example by extremist organisations intent

on fomenting hate, fear and mistrust and exploiting local grievances

to recruit globally.


Addressing Social Grievances

Moreover, non-violence may not always work to overcome social

grievances, for example in highly polarised conflicts involving

seemingly non-negotiable issues. If power structures and practices

do not allow for non-violent transformation, parties to a

conflict may stick to violent options, out of despair or because

of a lack of other opportunities. In some of these cases, dialogue

and conflict mitigation methods may successfully complement

non-violent tactics, emphasising the prevention of violence

while striving to redress the structural inequalities which led

aggrieved groups to resist in the first place. Moreover, conflict

resolution methods can help turn achievements of civil resistance

into commonly accepted, negotiated agreements, mending

polarised relationships through non-violent conflict (Dudouet

2017). All methods need to be applied within conflict parties and

violent groupings as well as across divides. Third parties, such

as the ong>Berghofong> Foundation, can be helpful in creating spaces for

dialogue, negotiation and mediation for non-violent interaction

among the conflict parties.

References and Further Reading

Lars-Erik Cederman, Kristian S. Gleditsch and Halvard Buhaug (2013). Inequality,

Grievances, and Civil War. Cambridge University Press.

Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan (2011). Why Civil Resistance Works: The

Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict. New York: Columbia University Press.

Simon Fisher, Dekha Ibrahim Abdi, Jawed Ludin, Richard Smith, Sue Williams

and Steven Williams (2000). Working with Conflict: Skills and Strategies for

Action. London: Zed Books.

Johan Galtung (1990). “Cultural Violence”, Journal of Peace Research, 27(3),


Gene Sharp (1973). The Politics of Non-Violent Action. Boston: Porter Sargent.

United Nations and World Bank (2018). Pathways for Peace: Inclusive Approaches

to Preventing Violent Conflict. Washington, DC: World Bank.


Addressing Social Grievances

Online Resources

Beatrix Austin & Martina Fischer (eds.) (2016). Transforming War-Related

Identities. Individual and Social Approaches to Healing and Dealing with the

Past. ong>Berghofong> Handbook Dialogue Series No. 11. Berlin: ong>Berghofong> Foundation.




Markus Bayer, Felix S. Bethke and Matteo Dressler (2017). “How Nonviolent

Resistance Helps to Consolidate Gains for Civil Society after Democratization.”

Minds of the Movement Blog. Washington: International Center on Nonviolent

Conflict. https://www.nonviolent-conflict.org/blog_post/how-nonviolentresistance-helps-consolidate-gains-democratization/.

ong>Berghofong> Foundation Project Website: “Nonviolent Resistance and Democratic

Consolidation”, https://www.berghof-foundation.org/en/programmes/


ong>Berghofong> Transitions Series (ongoing), https://www.berghof-foundation.org/


Véronique Dudouet (2017). Powering to Peace: Integrated Civil Resistance

and Peacebuilding Strategies. Washington, DC: International Center on

Nonviolent Conflict. https://www.nonviolent-conflict.org/wp-content/


Véronique Dudouet (2009). From War to Politics: Resistance/Liberation

Movements in Transition ong>Berghofong> Report No. 17. ong>Berghofong> Research Center for

Constructive Conflict Management. https://www.berghof-foundation.org/



Averting Humiliation: Dignity, Justice, Trust

2 Averting Humiliation:

Dignity, Justice, Trust

Julian Demmer and Norbert Ropers

“The road to peace is paved with dignity.”

Donna Hicks

Dignity, trust and justice – as well as their opposites, humiliation,

distrust and injustice – do not feature prominently in reflections

on peace projects. But they are very much present among

and within the people involved in the conflicts. It is therefore all

the more important that all who wish to support those projects

are sensitive to these dimensions and develop the respect and

empathy that are essential for work in this field.


Averting Humiliation: Dignity, Justice, Trust

DIGNITY | the state or quality of being worthy of honour or respect.

Peace rests, among other aspects, on upholding the value

and principle of dignity for all regardless of their origin.

HUMILIATION | the introduction of a hierarchy between persons

with superior and inferior status, by which some are “put down

and held down”.

Dignity, trust and justice

Dignity is a term used to indicate that all human beings have an

inalienable right to respectful and ethical treatment. Dignity became

a key term in the Age of Enlightenment and in the human

rights movement of the 20th century. It culminated in Article 1

of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948,

which states:

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and

rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and

should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” 1

Trust is a term that signifies that people have, in principle, positive

expectations of the intentions and behaviour of other persons.

These positive expectations can be based on close face-to

face interactions and bonding, for example in a family or among

friends, or on joint membership in groups and communities with

well-established social and cultural norms. The type and level

of trust raise highly complex issues, but it is generally assumed

that there is a significant difference in the trust that exists within

identity groups and between them, be they ethno-national, religious

or other culturally defined groups.

While there is no commonly agreed definition of justice, its principle

suum cuique – everyone should have what he or she is en-

1 More gender-sensitive wording has yet to be adopted


Averting Humiliation: Dignity, Justice, Trust

titled to – appears to be universal in reach. Accordingly, justice

is understood as “a state of affairs where actors obtain what they

are entitled to” (Müller 2013, 45). Yet who is entitled to what is

highly contested and depends on the actors’ perspective. Such

perspectives are shaped by both cultural norms and personal

experiences, and can thus be highly subjective. Justice is thus

about the allocation of goods or benefits, be they in the economic

realm of distribution, the cultural realm of recognition or the

political realm of representation.

The experience of being treated fairly and justly is important for

a person’s sense of dignity as well as their ability to trust. This in

turn plays a crucial role in the transformation of inter-personal

and collective conflicts and enhances the prospects for → Building

and Sustaining Peace.

The high price of humiliation, distrust and injustice

The vital role of dignity, trust and justice can be vividly demonstrated

by contrasting them with their absences: humiliation,

distrust and injustice, and their contributions to the escalation

and protracted nature of violent conflicts.

Injustice is a state of affairs in which actors perceive a discrepancy

between entitlements and benefits. ‘Striving for justice’ seeks

to correct this perceived discrepancy and is a basic driver of (violent

as well as nonviolent) action. Transformation places justice

at the core, supposing a normative drive of constructive social

change towards a just peace. Justice, here, is both an end and

a practical principle guiding the means by which social change

is pursued. Examples of this can be found within the sub-field

of peace mediation, where empirical findings stress the importance

of procedural and distributive justice for the sustainability

of peace agreements, or the sub-field of reconciliation studies.

David Bloomfield, based on his own experience in and beyond

Northern Ireland, has argued for the centrality of “a systematised

definition of social right and wrong, from which grows an


Averting Humiliation: Dignity, Justice, Trust

underlying shared value: that the justice system applies to all of

us, that it acts fairly, that we can trust it”.

The term “humiliation” indicates that instead of acknowledging

the equal dignity of all human beings, a hierarchy is introduced

between persons with superior and inferior status (the

most extreme example being the German words “Übermensch”

and “Untermensch” used by the Nazis). Accordingly, Evelin

Lindner defines the essence of humiliation as being “about putting

down and holding down”. Looking at history from this angle,

humiliation was interpreted in most societies of the world

as part of a “natural order” of superiors and inferiors, at least

until the Enlightenment. Tragically, there are many countries

in which this fundamentally unequal “natural order” is still in

place today. There is also often a temptation to impose “topdown

solutions” as a simplifying method to deal with the complexity

of conflicts.

In conflicts, the close relationship between collective political

violence and humiliation is evident when fighting not only aims

to achieve the physical destruction or “neutralisation” of the enemy,

but also targets their symbols of identity, respect and dignity,

and their honour and collective achievements. Often, the

first acts of violence are directed against these symbols, such

as when the Nazis destroyed and burned down more than 1500

synagogues during the Night of Broken Glass in November 1938,

marking the start of the Holocaust. In many protracted conflicts,

the violence against the opposing side’s symbols, such as places

of worship and cultural pride (libraries, museums), and violence

against people are closely connected. This is dramatically expressed

in collective sexual violence, which aims to degrade the

physical and moral integrity of the enemy.

Tragically, collective humiliation in the context of war and violence

has the systemic tendency to reproduce itself, particularly

if the victorious side makes no efforts to acknowledge the painful

narratives of the past, to address issues of transitional justice


Averting Humiliation: Dignity, Justice, Trust

and to engage in some kind of genuine process of reconciliation

(→ Dealing with the Past and Transitional Justice). For effective

conflict transformation, it is therefore crucial to overcome the

cycle of humiliation and counter-humiliation and to work towards

a comprehensive understanding of human dignity.

The central role of building trust

The main challenge in transforming conflicts shaped and driven

by humiliation by one side or by sequences of mutual humiliation

is to find ways to overcome the deep distrust that this engenders.

Particularly in the case of protracted conflicts, the distrust is so

deeply ingrained in the emotions and attitudes of the parties that

even occasional gestures of conciliation are often perceived by

the recipients as a ploy to undermine their position. To initiate

genuine processes of conflict transformation, it is therefore crucial

to develop strategies of trust and confidence-building, and

ultimately to find ways of gradually building more just, dignified

and trustworthy relationships. The ong>Berghofong> Foundation’s work

in Abkhazia, for example, is proving that this principle is highly

relevant by slowly, relationship by relationship, enabling more

and more public debate of highly contentious issues.

During the East-West conflict until 1989, investigating measures

of confidence-building was one of the key areas of peace

research and practical peace initiatives. A remarkable contribution

on trust building in this context was developed by the psychologist

Charles Osgood in 1962 with his strategy for “graduated

reciprocal reductions in tension” (GRIT). His argument was that

single de-escalatory measures in protracted conflicts will be of

little value because they can easily be rejected as public relation

stunts. Instead, one side should take the initiative and generate

a series of small conciliatory gestures, which are publicly announced

and implemented step-by-step, independently of the

response of the other side. If the latter party reciprocates with

similar measures, more significant steps should be taken. The

core idea is to trigger a cycle of de-escalation with a long-term


Averting Humiliation: Dignity, Justice, Trust

perspective by means of unilateral initiatives and to accompany

this process with some kind of dialogue to promote mutual understanding

and foster joint analyses.

Whether this approach can be applied to internal conflicts involving

internationally recognised states and non-state armed

groups (or liberation and resistance movements) is an open

question. The problem in these cases is that there is not only

deep mistrust between the parties, but often fundamental disagreement

on the legitimacy of the existing political order as

well. The general understanding is that trust building is a multi-dimensional

process in which elements of rationally defined

common interests, transparency and predictability play an important

role, as do emotional and relationship factors. Also, the

perception that a more just and hence more legitimate political

system is being built is of great importance here. Trust cannot be

imposed on conflicting parties, nor can it grow without empathy

and cooperation, which is why procedural justice becomes

imperative as it fosters positive attitudes, cooperative behaviour,

participation possibilities and ultimately conflict reduction.

In cases of humiliation and traumatic experiences of violence,

trust building means addressing issues of transitional justice

and reconciliation. At a minimum, it requires some kind of acknowledgement

of the painful past. And even in the best cases,

trust to engage in conflict transformation needs opportunities,

time and spaces for relationship-building.


Averting Humiliation: Dignity, Justice, Trust

References and Further Reading

David Bloomfield (2006). On Good Terms. Clarifying Reconciliation. ong>Berghofong>

Report No. 14. Berlin: ong>Berghofong> Research Center for Constructive Conflict


Morton Deutsch (2014). Justice and Conflict, in: Peter T. Coleman, Morton Deutsch

and Eric C. Marcus (eds.). The Handbook of Conflict Resolution: Theory and

Practice, 3rd ed., San Francisco, CA.: Jossey-Bass, 29–56.

Nancy Fraser (2008). Reframing Justice in a Globalized World, in: Nancy Fraser

(ed.). Scales of Justice: Reimagining Political Space in a Globalizing World,

New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 12–30.

Donna Hicks (2011). Dignity. The Essential Role It Plays in Resolving Conflict. New

Haven, CT & London: Yale University Press.

Evelin Lindner (2006). Making Enemies: Humiliation and International Conflict.

Westport, CT & London: Praeger.

Harald Müller (2013). Justice and Peace. Good Things Do Not Always Go Together,

in: Gunther Hellmann (ed.). Justice and Peace: Interdisciplinary Perspectives

on a Contested Relationship, Frankfurt am Main: campus, 43–69.

Online Resources

ong>Berghofong> Foundation, Caucasus Programme, https://www.berghof-foundation.org/


Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies Network, www.humiliationstudies.org

Roy J. Lewicki & Edward C. Tomlinson (2003). Trust and Trust Building, www.


Michelle Parlevliet (2011). Human Rights and Conflict Transformation: Towards

a More Intergrated Approach, in: Austin, B., Fischer, M. and Giessmann, H.J.

(eds.): Advancing Conflict Transformation: The ong>Berghofong> Handbook II. Opladen/

Farmington Hills: Barbara Budrich Publishers. Also: https://www.berghoffoundation.org/en/publications/handbook/handbook-dialogues/

Step-by-Step De-Escalation (GRIT). International Online Training Project on

Intractable Conflict, http://www.peace.ca/glossaryUColorado.htm


Breaking Deadlocks: Peace Process Support

3 Breaking Deadlocks:

Peace Process Support

Dalia Barsoum, Izzat Kushbakov, Leona Hollasch

and Armani Gambaryan, with Sonja Neuweiler

“Crises and deadlocks when they occur have at least this

advantage – that they force us to think.”

Jawaharlal Nehru

One of the basic insights from protracted conflicts is that it takes

time – not only years, but often decades – to overcome the risk of

relapse into violence. In many cases, protracted conflicts move

through long and painful phases of “no war, no peace”. Peace

processes that do not also transform the conflict at hand by addressing

root causes will hardly be sustainable. Based on this

recognition, the ong>Berghofong> Foundation, along with many activists,


Breaking Deadlocks: Peace Process Support

DEADLOCK | a situation, typically one involving opposing parties,

in which progress appears impossible due to the unwillingness

or inability of the parties.

PEACE PROCESS | a series of talks, agreements and activities

designed to end war or violence between two groups. Peace

processes may include formal and informal mechanisms, and

involve a multitude of actors often over a long period.

peacebuilding practitioners and international actors is focusing

attention on advancing sustainable peace support efforts.

Mechanisms and actors

National and local actors are key in initiating, driving and supporting

peace processes. The discussion around national peace

support structures or → Establishing Infrastructures for Peace

emphasises the importance of establishing formal, semi-formal

and informal mechanisms for cooperation among the conflict

parties and more permanent networks and institutions to support

peace processes over time.

Peace support structures in many contexts also receive external

assistance, often in the form of financial support but also including

capacity-building, advice, process support and assistance

with organisational development. One strand of discussion has

thus focused on comprehensive, coherent and effective peace

support strategies by external actors through long-term development

of national, local and organisational capacities, using leverage

to encourage conflict parties to engage in peace processes and

coordinating with influencers in a multilateral support strategy.


Breaking Deadlocks: Peace Process Support

From peace support to peace process support:

evolution of a term …

Initially, peace support operations were introduced to complement

or replace traditional concepts of peacekeeping as thirdparty

military interventions based on the consent of the conflict

parties. Peace support operations came to encompass more

robust mandates for peace enforcement, but they also shifted

towards recognising the importance of civilian support for UN

peacekeeping and peace enforcement operations. Since then,

the focus of “peace support” efforts has increasingly evolved

to include more medium- and long-term efforts by internal and

external actors, ranging from process-oriented support such as

dialogue and mediation to establishing more institutionalised

infrastructures promoting human rights, rule of law or multiparty


Deadlocks: how they occur

Peace processes to end protracted conflicts remain fragile and

are continuously at risk of being blocked or stalled. These deadlocks

can be caused by a number of factors.

Contentious issues and positions: Peace processes can accentuate

existing ideological incompatibilities or bring forward new

contentious issues. This can prompt the conflict parties to reject

talks and stop the process, fearing that negotiating would mean

abandoning their beliefs. In such cases, the parties often see

either too few or too many favourable outcomes of the negotiations.

With too few options, they hope the other party will be the

one to shift position in their favour. With too many favourable

options and in an attempt to get the best possible outcome for

themselves, they fear that being satisfied with several options

might be perceived as a sign of weakness. They therefore block

the process altogether.


Breaking Deadlocks: Peace Process Support

Frictions around trust, interests and relationships: Peace talks

touch upon the vested, if not existential interests of the conflict

parties in a situation where relations between parties and social

groups more broadly are characterised by deep divisions, grievances,

atrocities and violence – in many cases directly blamed on

the other sides involved in the negotiations. Often, experiences

of unfulfilled commitments in previous rounds of negotiations or

doubts about the other parties’ intentions and seriousness prevail.

Certain actors may continue to benefit from the status quo

and are therefore interested in sustaining deadlocks and seeking

to undermine efforts to reach a settlement. These benefits may

be financial and economic, such as access to resources, rents or

the profits of war economies. However, they may also be political,

with parties justifying a continued grip on power and strengthening

their support bases by inciting against other groups or portraying

themselves as a protective shield or guarantor of certain

group rights or privileges.

Shortcomings in process design: Deadlocks can also result from

procedural shortcomings in the design of a peace process. An

example is insufficient preparation of the process or the parties

themselves, leading to uncertainty among key actors or lack of

trust in the process – sometimes caused by a desire or pressure

to achieve quick results. Shortcomings may also arise from the

lack of support structures for problem-solving (in informal and

formal settings) or for the development of safety nets or alternative

options to generate and sustain broader support for the process.

The process architecture may also be negatively affected by

the exclusion of key actors or lack of mechanisms to deal with

elite or popular resistance. In third party-mediated processes,

perceptions relating to the impartiality, competence or commitment

of the mediating party may also lead to deadlocks until

trust can be restored or, more often, the mediating party is replaced.


Breaking Deadlocks: Peace Process Support

Deadlocks: how to break them

Peace support actors can help in preventing deadlocks through

elements of process design or safety nets or can support efforts

to overcome deadlocks in order to prevent and avoid a complete

breakdown of the process.

The ong>Berghofong> Foundation investigated many other mechanisms

for deadlock-breaking while preparing a National Dialogue

Handbook in 2017. They include:

Formal and semi-formal structures and mechanisms, informal

and ad hoc mechanisms

When deadlocks hinder the continuation of talks, it may be helpful

to bring together a small deadlock-breaking team comprising

problem-solving-oriented individuals from each side who may

find it easier to reach agreement on the contentious issues in this

more concentrated setting. Depending on the context and process,

these mechanisms can either be integrated in the design of

the process as a formal or semi-formal structure or the process

itself can be organised in an informal or ad hoc manner.

For example …

During the National Dialogue Conference in Yemen, the participants

quickly realised that the working groups needed a way to

overcome deadlocks in their discussions. A deadlock-breaking

mechanism was therefore put into place in the shape of a Consensus

Committee. Whenever the plenary was unable to reach

consensus on an issue, it was taken to the Committee. The

composition of the Committee mirrored that of the Conference,

consisting of the heads of all decision-making bodies, and was

tasked with proposing adjustments that made an agreement in

the working groups possible. In this way, the contentious issues

could be dealt with individually by a representative group able to

reach a solution.


Breaking Deadlocks: Peace Process Support

Public consultations/referenda and reference to wider audiences

and third parties

Experience has repeatedly shown that connecting all tracks in an

inclusive process offers the greatest potential for a transformation

towards sustainable peace. Peace support actors engaged

in process design thus aim to establish processes that actively

include not only the elite but also the broader public down to the

grassroots (→Inclusivity and Participation). Inclusive processes

not only bring parties closer to an agreement but also help prevent

and address deadlocks, since public opinion is often a contributory

factor to processes stalling. On the other hand, public

opinions and perceptions of the negotiations can give the conflict

parties the necessary impetus to move the peace process forward.

For example …

In the context of the Abkhaz-Georgian-South Ossetian conflict,

the ong>Berghofong> Foundation’s Caucasus Programme focuses on

building bridges between estranged communities through local

history dialogues. Implementing a “three-tiered gearwheel approach”,

the team found that constructive and self-critical reflections

on the past, involving individuals and groups, and upscaling

these discussions to the public debate level can achieve the

greatest possible inclusivity in the process and spark collective

reflection processes. In a first step, “gearwheel one”, project

groups collected their perspectives on the conflict, escalation

of violence and war in an interview format. “Gearwheel two”,

consisting of intergenerational discussion rounds, gave space to

people from different age groups to come together and reflect on

their experiences and listen to others. “Gearwheel three” then

took the dialogue up to a public level using TV talkshow or radio

formats. This initiated a wider process of public reflection.


Breaking Deadlocks: Peace Process Support

Collective strategic thinking processes

In situations of intractable conflict, where parties refuse encounters

with others or lack internal cohesion, a new model by the

Oxford Research Group (2017) proposes intra-party “collective

strategic thinking”. These structured thinking processes within

the parties on their identity, the conflict context, their own

strategic goals and alternative means of achieving them and an

exploration of the opponent’s perspective lay the ground for (rekindling)

constructive inter-party engagement.

While some of the mechanisms mentioned above aim to respond

to an existing situation and are utilised to address deadlocks in

a specific process, others, like long-term process support, safety

nets and common spaces, have a broader function. They can

serve as sustainable mechanisms to protect a process from collapsing

or to prevent deadlocks from occurring. In the long term,

safety nets can be seen as an important part of the → Establishing

Infrastructure for Peace. They include continuous dialogue

initiatives, common spaces, local dialogues, and other civil society

and expert engagement in formal peace processes. The ong>Berghofong>

Foundation continues to support the creation of such spaces

in many conflict arenas around the world.


Breaking Deadlocks: Peace Process Support

References and Further Reading

Christopher W. Moore (2014). The Mediation Process – Practical Strategies for

Resolving Conflict. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Amrita Narlikar (ed.) (2010): Deadlocks in Multilateral Negotiations: Causes and

Solutions Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Norbert Ropers (2017). Basics of Dialogue Facilitation. Berlin/Tübingen: ong>Berghofong>

Foundation. [ Also available in Arabic and Spanish.]

Andrea Zemskov-Züge and Oliver Wolleh (2018). “Changing the Past in our

Heads”: A facilitator’s guide to listening workshops. Berlin: ong>Berghofong> Foundation.

Online Resources

ACCORD (2009). “Ending war: the need for peace process support strategies”.

Policy Brief. London: Conciliation Resources. http://c-r.org/downloads/


CDA Collaborative Learning Projects, Cumulative Impact Studies, www.cdainc.com.

Marike Blunck et al. (2017). National Dialogue Handbook: A Guide for

Practitioners. Berlin: ong>Berghofong> Foundation. https://www.berghof-foundation.



Oxford Research Group [Emily Morgan and Oliver Ramsbotham] (2017): ORG’s

Collective Strategic Thinking Model. London: Oxford Research Group. www.



Building and Sustaining Peace

4 Building and Sustaining


Sebastian Sönsken, Anne Kruck and Zina El-Nahel

“The beauty of peace is in trying to find solutions together.”

Dekha Ibrahim Abdi

What is peace? In debates about peace definitions, the distinction

between negative and positive peace put forward by Johan

Galtung has gained broad acceptance. Negative peace describes

peace as the absence of war or direct physical violence. A positive

notion of peace includes the increase in social justice and

the creation of a culture of peace among people within and

across societies. This is the understanding of peace that informs

the ong>Berghofong> Foundation’s approach.


Building and Sustaining Peace

PEACE | a complex, long-term and multi-layered process, in which

it is possible to identify steps towards peace and measure the decrease

of violence and increase of justice. The multi-layered character

of peace means that not only governments but also stakeholders

at all levels of societies are responsible for it.

PEACEBUILDING | a generic term to cover all activities intended

to encourage and promote peaceful relations and overcoming violence.

A long-term process that seeks to positively alter structural

contradictions, improve relations between the conflict parties

and encourage overall constructive changes in attitudes. It may

also refer to activities connected with economic development,

social justice, reconciliation, empowerment of disadvantaged/

strategic groups and humanitarian support.

A frequent criticism of positive peace is that it lacks conceptual

clarity. Nonetheless, most scholars agree that peace is a complex,

long-term and multi-layered process, in which it is possible

to identify steps towards peace and measure the decrease of

violence and increase of justice. The multi-layered character of

peace means that not only governments but stakeholders at all

levels of societies are responsible for it.

Steps for peace

Working toward peace requires at least three fundamental steps:

First, a vision of peace must be articulated. Peace on an individual

level obviously differs from international peace; researchers,

politicians and artists all use the term “peace” in different ways,

and interpretations vary according to culture. In some societies

the word “peace” may even cause resentment due to experiences

of oppression inflicted in the name of peace. Peace definitions

are therefore context-specific. Developing common peace visions

is an important aspect of peace work.


Building and Sustaining Peace

Second, it is crucial to specify the conditions for peace in or between

societies, with a view to establishing these conditions. In

his analysis of the historical emergence of peace within western

societies, Dieter Senghaas identified six crucial conditions and

put them together as a “civilisatory hexagon”: power monopoly,

rule of law, interdependence and affect control, democratic participation,

social justice and a constructive culture of conflict

(see → Educating for Peace).

Third, comparing the current realities in a given society with

the peace vision, it is essential to find out what peace-supporting

structures, institutions or attitudes need to be created or

strengthened. A wide range of strategies and methods are used

to make, keep, build or sustain peace on different actor levels

(often also referred to as tracks). Peace efforts can be undertaken

by actors on all levels and across several levels and tracks (see

Figure 1).

From peacebuilding to sustaining peace

In his Agenda for Peace, former UN Secretary-General Boutros

Boutros-Ghali (1992) described peacebuilding as a major instrument

for securing peace in post-war situations. This narrowly-defined

approach was criticised by the Advisory Group of Experts

who reviewed the peacebuilding architecture of the UN in 2015.

The group called for the broader concept of “sustaining peace”

which puts more emphasis on the prevention of violent conflict to

“save succeeding generations from the scourge of war” as stated

in the UN Charter. They see “sustaining peace” as an overarching

term including prevention, peacemaking and peacekeeping,

as well as peacebuilding, post-war recovery and reconstruction.

This paradigm shift within the UN has come about in the course

of the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals. Although

only Goal 16 relates directly to peace – “promote peaceful and

inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access

to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive

institutions at all levels” – all 17 Goals are interconnected and


Building and Sustaining Peace

Pyramid of peacebuilding

Types of actors

Level 1 . Top Leadership

Military / political / religious

leaders with high visibility

Approaches to Building Peace

Focus on high-level negotiations

Emphasises cease-fire

Led by highly visible, single


Level 2 . Middle Range Leadership

Leaders respected in sectors

Ethnic / religious leaders

Academic / intellectuals

Humanitarian leaders (NGOs)

Problem-solving workshops

Training in conflict resolution

Peace commissions

Insider-partial teams Affected


Level 3 . Grassroots Leadership

Local leaders

Leaders of indigenous NGOs

Community developers

Local health officials

Refugee camp leaders

Local peace commissions

Grassroots training

Prejudice reduction

Psychosocial work in postwar


Figure 1, source: John Paul Lederach, 1997

relevant for the achievement of positive peace, such as quality

of education, access to food and clean water or health services.

Although the term “sustaining peace” might be new, comprehensive

understandings of peacebuilding are not. Scholars

and civil society organisations have long promoted peacebuilding

approaches which include preventive measures. These

can be applied in all stages of conflict and are also needed in

relatively peaceful societies. Peacebuilding covers all activities

aimed at promoting peace and overcoming violence in a society.


Building and Sustaining Peace

Although most activities on track 2 and 3 are carried out by civil

society actors, the establishment of links to track 1 is considered

essential for sustainable transformation of societies. While

external agents can facilitate and support peacebuilding, ultimately

it must be driven by local actors, often called agents of

peaceful change. It cannot be imposed from the outside. Some

peacebuilding work done by international organisations is criticised

for being too bureaucratic, orientated towards short-term

timeframes, and financially dependent on governmental donors

and therefore accountable to them but not to the people on the

ground. It thus seems to reinforce the status quo instead of calling

for a deep transformation of structural injustices. Transformative

peacebuilding needs to address social justice issues and

should respect the principles of partnership, multipartiality and

inclusivity (→ Transforming Conflict).

Peacebuilding, which seeks to sustain positive peace, is not a

rapid response tool but a long-term process of ongoing work for

all societies in the following three dimensions:

1. Altering structural injustices is widely regarded as essential for

lasting peace. Important elements are state-building and democratisation

measures, the reform of structures that reproduce the

conflict (e. g. the education system), economic and sustainable

development, social justice and human rights, empowerment of

civil society and constructive media (→ Establishing Infrastructures

for Peace; → Addressing Social Grievances; → Empowerment

and Ownership).

2. Improving relations between the conflict parties is an integral

part of peacebuilding to reduce the effects of war-related hostility

and disrupted communication between the conflict parties.

Programmes of reconciliation, trust building and dealing with

the past aim to transform damaged relationships (→ Dealing

with the Past and Transitional Justice). They deal with the nonmaterial

effects of violent conflict.


Building and Sustaining Peace

Sustaining peace as an overarching term


Fulfilment of the 17 Sustainable

Development Goals: no

poverty, good health, quality

education, gender equality,



Diplomatic efforts to end violence

and to achieve a peace

agreement, e. g. negotiation,

mediation, arbitration and

judicial settlement

Table 1, source: ong>Berghofong> Foundation

3. Changing individual attitudes and behaviour is the third dimension

of peacebuilding. It means strengthening individual

peace capacities, breaking stereotypes, empowering formerly

disadvantaged groups, and healing trauma and psychological

wounds of war. One frequently used measure for strengthening

individual peace capacities is training people in non-violent action

and conflict resolution (→ Educating for Peace).

Many peacebuilding measures seek to have a greater impact by

combining strategies, which encompass all three dimensions (e.

g. bringing former conflict parties together to work on improving

their economic situation and thus changing individual attitudes).

Yet peacebuilding actors and organisations are still struggling to

make their work more effective and to generate “collective impact”

(see Woodrow 2017). Given the wide variety of peacebuilding

approaches, it is therefore important to identify, cluster and

publish best-practice examples to create learning opportunities

for all present and future peacebuilders.


Building and Sustaining Peace


For example, deployment

of armed forces to enforce

a ceasefire agreement and

monitor peace processes in

post-war societies


Includes post-war recovery

and reconstruction.

For example, demobilising

and reintegrating combatants;

assisting the return of

refugees; supporting justice

and security sector reform;

fostering reconciliation

References and Further Reading

Johan Galtung (1996). Peace by Peaceful Means – Peace and Conflict, Development

and Civilization. Oslo: PRIO.

John Paul Lederach (2010). The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building

Peace. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Dieter Senghaas (2007). On Perpetual Peace: A Timely Assessment. New York/

Oxford: Berghahn Books.

Online Resources

ong>Berghofong> Foundation (2014). What is peace? A movie for children. Berlin: ong>Berghofong>

Foundation. www.berghof-foundation.org/programmes/peace-educationglobal-learning/frieden-fragende/.

International Peace Institute (2017). Sustaining Peace: What does it mean in

practice? New York: IPI. www.ipinst.org/2017/04/sustaining-peace-inpractice.

Oxford Research Group [Emily Morgan and Oliver Ramsbotham] (2017): ORG’s

Collective Strategic Thinking Model. London: Oxford Research Group. www.


Peter Woodrow (2017). Framework for Collective Impact in Peacebuilding. Version

for field application & testing. Cambridge, MA: CDA. cdacollaborative.org/



Dealing with the Past and Transitional Justice

5. Dealing with the Past and

Transitional Justice

Victoria Cochrane-Buchmüller, Priscilla Megalaa,

Rebecca Davis and Beatrix Austin

“Unreconciled issues from past violence never disappear simply

by default.”

David Bloomfield

For those who have lived, researched or supported people in

post-war societies that have suffered a history of (mass) violence,

addressing the legacies of past violence is of crucial importance.

In its many forms, it will help shape both the present and the

future. Different ways of doing this have emerged over the past

decades, among them transitional justice, reconciliation and

dealing with the past. Each of these fields is defined in a slightly


Dealing with the Past and Transitional Justice

DEALING WITH THE PAST | an overarching term referring to a set of

measures carried out in relation to past injustice and harm which

at the same time create a fair society in the present and better

prospects for sustainable peace and development in the future.

TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE | a broad range of processes by which

countries emerging from periods of conflict and repression address

large-scale or systematic human rights violations for which

the normal justice system would not be able to provide an adequate


RECONCILIATION | strives to provide a common frame of reference

for societies to acknowledge the past, creating space for individual/national

restoration and healing by changing the nature of

the relationship between the conflicting parties as part of a longterm

communal relationship-(re-)building process.

TRANSFORMATIVE JUSTICE | a forward-looking agenda attempting

to address a society’s grievances expressed in a violent past

and drive a transformation of structural inequalities to promote

social justice and sustainable peace.

different and somewhat overlapping way, and each has its followers

and detractors. Lately, the new paradigm of transformative

justice has gained increasing attention from scholars and

practitioners alike.

Transitional justice, reconciliation, and dealing with the past

As it is now understood, transitional justice refers to a broad

range of processes by which countries emerging from periods of

conflict and repression address large-scale or systematic human

rights violations for which the normal justice system would not

be able to provide an adequate response.

Legal experts have extensively published on the development

and capacities of international, hybrid or domestic courts, the


Dealing with the Past and Transitional Justice

most prominent being the international criminal tribunals for

Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, the hybrid courts for Sierra

Leone and Lebanon and in more recent years, the use of universal

jurisdiction to prosecute war crimes in national jurisdictions.

While its focus remains largely on accountability, and the domestic

and international legal mechanisms for achieving this, attention

is increasingly being paid to the role of other disciplines,

such as social sciences and history, as well as fields of practice,

such as support services for victims of violence. In addition, conventional

forms of justice, memory work, reconciliation initiatives

and education reform have been incorporated into the field.

These additional practices have broadened the variety of transitional

justice approaches that go beyond legal and institutional

mechanisms in order to respond to wider political and social processes,

without transforming its core.

Local traditions of justice are a valuable addition to the national

transitional justice framework. However, these practices should

be incorporated and applied with care, as some community-based

justice processes may amplify existing discriminatory or abusive

practices. An effective example of employing the traditional customs

of transitional justice can be found in Mozambique, where

“cleansing ceremonies offered ex-combatants a way to reintegrate

into communities by renouncing violence, acknowledging

wrong-doing and providing victims, or families of victims, with

some kind of compensation” (ICTJ and DPKO 2009, 13).

Reconciliation is based on the acknowledgement of past injustice,

the acceptance of responsibility and steps towards (re-)building

trust. It is often understood as going beyond formal conflict resolution

to changing the nature of the relationship between the

conflicting parties as part of a long-term communal relationship-

(re-)building process.

Confronting the past in a reconciliatory way may include a variety

of approaches. David Bloomfield and his colleagues acknowledge

that while political and national reconciliation may


Dealing with the Past and Transitional Justice

be achieved through truth-telling (e. g. truth commissions), individual

reconciliation is a more personal process that is difficult

to achieve. Although the concept is ambivalent and difficult to

measure, as Alexander Boraine argues, there is a need to achieve

at least a measure of reconciliation by creating a “common memory”

that can be acknowledged by those who have implemented

an unjust system, those who fought against it, and those who

were bystanders. More than an end goal, reconciliation processes

provide a common frame of reference for societies to acknowledge

the past, creating space for individual/national restoration

and healing.

As with other terminology, there is no codified understanding of

the phrase “dealing with the past”. At the ong>Berghofong> Foundation,

the term is used as an overarching umbrella that refers to a set

of measures carried out in relation to past injustice and harm

which at the same time create a fair society in the present and

better prospects for sustainable peace and development in the

future. Dealing with the past has an open “repertoire”, into

which both transitional justice and reconciliation mechanisms

may fall. It is a holistic process, which may span generations

and requires analysis and action on many different levels; both

personal and public elements must be addressed along with integration

of victims, perpetrators and bystanders. Additionally,

feminist research has revealed that a better understanding of the

gendered experience of violence and justice, culture and power

structures is needed to appropriately analyse the causes, dynamics

and consequences of conflict and violence.

Transformative justice as a new paradigm?

The discussions surrounding transitional justice, reconciliation

and dealing with the past have embraced a forward-looking

agenda in the form of transformative justice. A transformative

approach attempts to address a society’s grievances and drive a

transformation of structural inequalities to promote social justice

and sustainable peace. The trend marks a shift towards comple-


Dealing with the Past and Transitional Justice

mentarity through integrating official top-down mechanisms

with unofficial local initiatives. Paul Gready and Simon Robins

suggest that this broadening of transitional justice provides connections

with wider notions of peacebuilding and contributes to

a holistic approach that is context-driven. It also strengthens local

ownership, including that of survivors in an active role, and

sustainability as key requirements for less top-down engagement

on working through the legacies of past mass violence. A transformative

approach also moves away from what Palmer terms the

“international orientation” of courts and the impact that this has

on the effectiveness and longevity of the “justice” that is achieved.

Critical issues in working on the past

The ong>Berghofong> Foundation has been active in the Western Balkans

for many years. In 2013, a comparative study was conducted

which looked at initiatives for reconciliation and “dealing with

the past” undertaken by international organisations, legal institutions

and local civil society actors in response to the wars of

the 1990s. Among the many avenues of exploration, the study

found that advancement in justice and truth recovery is aided

by close cooperation with civil society actors and local communities.

Although rule of law and functioning institutions for its

implementation are essential for creating a sense of fairness and

justice, retributive approaches need to be complemented with

restorative, community-centred strategies from the very beginning.

Often this includes both victims/survivors and perpetrators.

Also, our work in the Caucasus has shown the importance

of storytelling and exploring biographical story-sharing across

divides after violent conflict.

The ong>Berghofong> Foundation’s long-standing work with Resistance

and Liberation Movements engaged in peace processes has also

touched upon the issue of transitional justice and the role of victims.

Our work focuses on enabling peer exchange and providing

tailor-made input and capacity building on various topics,

including transitional justice.


Dealing with the Past and Transitional Justice

A 2017 meeting of Resistance and Liberation Movements focused

on transitional justice in the field, the link between justice,

stability of peace and long-term reconciliation, and possible

models/designs, key tools and practical measures. The meeting

enabled discussions on the advantages and disadvantages of

participating in transitional justice processes as well as on how

inclusivity may be broadened through participation by victims.

Discussions also considered the role of prisoners in dealing with

the past, and that of strategic communication on all sides of the

peace process. Crucial aspects highlighted by the participating

groups were strategic communication, sequencing and connecting

the national-international and the traditional-universal approaches

to transitional justice.

While there is growing critical analysis of transitional justice

theory and its practical implementation, the tendency is still to

focus on the long-debated dichotomies of peace vs. justice, and

accountability vs. reconciliation, as well as the debates on the

place of transitional justice in peace processes. We suggest that

instead, greater attention should be paid to the practical application

of transitional justice and its integration into peace processes

for the benefit of those most affected by the outcomes.

References and Further Reading

Beatrix Austin and Martina Fischer (eds.) (2016). Transforming War-Related Identities:

Individual and Social Approaches to Healing and Dealing with the Past.

ong>Berghofong> Handbook Dialogue Series No. 11. Berlin: ong>Berghofong> Foundation

David Bloomfield, Teresa Barnes and Luc Huyse (eds.) (2010). Reconciliation after

Violent Conflict: A Handbook. Revised Edition. Stockholm: IDEA.

Alexander Boraine (2006). Transitional Justice: A Holistic Interpretation. Journal of

International Affairs 60(1), 17–27.

Martina Fischer and Ljubinka Petrovic-Ziemer (2015). Dealing with the Past

and Peacebuilding in the Western Balkans. Osnabrück: Deutsche Stiftung


Paul Gready and Simon Robins (2014). From Transitional to Transformative Justice:

A New Agenda for Practice. International Journal of Transitional Justice 8(3),



Dealing with the Past and Transitional Justice

ICTJ and DPKO (2009). “Module 6: DDR and Transitional Justice”, in UNDDR.

Integrated Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Standards.

UNDDR Resource Centre.

Nicola Palmer 2012. Transfer or Transformation? A Review of the Rule 11 bis Decisions

of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. African Journal of

International and Comparative Law 20 (1): 1–21.

Nico Schernbeck and Luxshi Vimalarajah (2017). Negotiating Transitional Justice.

A Strategic Framework. Berlin: ong>Berghofong> Foundation.

Andrea Zemskov-Züge and Oliver Wolleh (eds.) (2018). “Changing the Past in our

Heads”: A facilitator’s guide to listening workshops. Berlin: ong>Berghofong> Foundation.

Online Resources

FriEnt (Working Group on Peace and Development), https://www.frient.de/en/


“Making Peace with the Past: Transforming Broken Relationships” (2016). Accord

Insight 3. London: Conciliation Resources. http://www.c-r.org/accord/


Centre for Nonviolent Action (2014). Reconciliation?! Training Handbook for

Dealing with the Past. Sarajevo/Belgrade: CNA. https://nenasilje.org/



Educating for Peace

6 Educating for Peace

Uli Jäger

“That since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds

of men that the defences of peace must be constructed.”


Peace education is the process of acquiring the values and

knowledge and developing the attitudes, skills and behaviour to

live in harmony with oneself, with others, and with the natural

environment. It aims to reduce violence, support the transformation

of conflicts, and advance the peace capabilities of individuals,

groups, societies and institutions.

Peace education builds on people’s capacities to learn and helps

to establish a global and sustainable culture of peace. It is context-specific,

but is essential and feasible in every world region


Educating for Peace

PEACE EDUCATION | the process of acquiring the values and

knowledge and developing the attitudes, skills and behaviour to

live in harmony with oneself, with others, and with the natural

environment. It aims to reduce violence, support the transformation

of conflicts, and advance the peace capabilities of individuals,

groups, societies and institutions.

and during all stages of conflict. Peace education takes place in

many settings, whether formal or informal: in every-day learning

and education, in the preparation, implementation and evaluation

of professional projects with selected target groups, and

in the support provided for conflict-sensitive education systems.

There is no uniform concept of what peace education should include

and the international discourse on this topic is still in its

infancy. Various social, political, economic, historical and cultural

contexts must be taken into account, along with the different

traditions and levels of intensity in the systematic debate and

practice of peace education nationally.

Recent UN documents, such as the UNESCO concept of “Education

for All” and the Sustainable Development Goals (Goal

4), underline the importance of peace education. The key prerequisite

for success is the renunciation of all forms of corporal

punishment, violence and psychological pressure as a means of

delivering education.

Objectives of peace education

Peace education has four core and interdependent objectives:

recognition of conflicts as an opportunity for positive change,

which means developing the skills for the constructive management

of conflicts and a respectful relationship with those who

are “other”;


Educating for Peace

recognition of different individual, social and political forms

of (everyday) violence and the “fascination of violence”, which

means promoting analysis of individual and collective experiences

of violence, both past and present (→ Preventing Violence;

→ Dealing with the Past and Transitional Justice);

analysis of the causes, impacts and after-effects of war, which

means looking at possible mechanisms against and alternatives

to war at the individual, social and international level;

the development of visions of peace and community life and

ways of translating these visions into practical action.

To implement these goals, it is necessary to create spaces in

which learning processes can develop. These learning spaces for

peace are based on the concept and implementation of “learning

arrangements”: context-specific, bespoke settings that take

account of factors such as learning objectives, target groups,

methods, timeframes and available facilities. Learning arrangements

do not prescribe any form of instruction or use manipulation.

They encourage an ethical, political and practical focus and

open-ended dialogue (→ Facilitating Dialogue and Negotiation).

Essentials of peace education

Peace education deals systematically with major challenges to

peace, such as conflict, hostility and enemy images, violence

and war. By considering the many facets of violence in detail, we

can develop a better understanding of violence and identify risk

factors and prevention measures.

Peace is not perceived as a static condition but as a process of

decreasing violence and increasing justice (→ Building and Sustaining

Peace). Peace is also not seen as an exception to the rule,

but as the preferred rule. It thus serves as both a normative aim

and a pragmatic orientation for action.

Models such as the “civilisatory hexagon” can provide a basis for

reflection, offering guidance and facilitating the visualisation of

linkages between normative aims. In this sense, peace education


Educating for Peace

Civilisatory hexagon



Rule of law


and affect




Culture of constructive conflict


Social justice/


Graph by: Christoph Lang

Figure 2, source: Dieter Senghaas 2007

has significant overlaps with other approaches such as civics or

human rights education.

Peace education initiates and supports social and political learning

processes, in which positive social behaviour, empathy and

capacities for non-violent communication can evolve (peace capacity);

knowledge about peace and war, conflict and violence

can be acquired (peace competence); and the willingness to

show civil courage and engage for peace is fostered (peace action).

Peace education offers practical advice for education in

family and preschool settings, in school and in the non-formal

education sector. Conflicts within society must not be concealed

but should be made visible within the framework of peace education.

People all over the world need spaces to learn and experience

peace – at the micro level of the family and in daily life as well


Educating for Peace

as at the macro level of society and international politics. People

learn from experience and benefit from inspiring learning environments

with appropriate multimedia-based and interactive

methods. All the senses and emotions play an important role

and need to be integrated in designing learning arrangements.

Humour is an element not to be underestimated. The real-life

encounter with “the other”, be it members of conflicting parties

in post-war societies, minorities and majorities or locals and migrants,

is indispensable.

Delivering peace education

The way in which peace education is delivered has an important

role to play in convincing people of its benefits, as do the substance

and credibility of the peace message. Education methods

must be adapted to a changing social and technological environment.

Nowadays, the widespread use of social media offers

new opportunities for education models. While the use and dissemination

of elements like hate speech or fake news may pose

threats to peaceful coexistence, social media also facilitate participation,

knowledge-sharing and freedom of speech and information.

Peace education should capitalise on this opportunity by using

different kinds of media intensively for its purposes, making

online materials and media accessible and creating networks.

For example, a youth council advises one ong>Berghofong> Foundation

project (Culture of Conflict 3.0: Learning Spaces and Media for

Young People to Deal with Internet Violence and Hate), which is

essential for understanding young people’s positive and negative

experiences with social media. The youth council is involved,

among other things, in developing target-group-oriented comic

films – a joint effort which brings both great fun and great success.

A proven peace education approach discusses examples of

successful peacebuilding and its protagonists. Authentic role


Educating for Peace

models who promote the principles of non-violence are helpful.

Outstanding educators and advocates of non-violence (Maria

Montessori, Paolo Freire, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King)

have long been sources of inspiration for the theory and practice

of peace education. They have shaped the concept and image of

peace education in their respective world regions in a distinctive


Methods of peace education

Peace education methods are based on the following practices:

Exemplary learning: reality is very complex, as are conflicts or

peace processes. Case studies exemplify and make the backgrounds

and the variety of (visible and less visible) relationships

more concrete.

Contrasting and emphasising: focus attention on specific or determining

viewpoints and problematical aspects.

Change of perspective: empathy is promoted by expanding the

learners’ own standpoint, which can be inflexible and deeply

rooted, to allow a plurality of views.

Clarity and ability to perceive linkages: using techniques such as

visualisation, problematical issues are relocated from the realm

of the abstract and related to learners’ own experiences.

Action-orientated: themes and issues are made accessible through

activity and experience-based learning.

Peer-orientated: shared learning is encouraged through group

work and mutual support.

Empowerment: building skills promotes self-confidence and autonomy.


Educating for Peace

Types of peace education

Due to the complexity of protracted violent conflicts and the resulting

need for transformation efforts at various levels, a comprehensive

approach is required. This must bring together two

fundamental types of peace education.

(1) Direct peace education: Key elements of this approach are

about encounter, inspiration and training. It could also be described

as peace education for empowerment, with a focus on

personal capacity development or identity-building.

(2) Structural peace education: This approach brings together elements

that, with the aid of pilot projects, aim to develop learning

modules, media and curricula, focusing on the sustainable

delivery of peace education in the formal and non-formal education

systems. The objective is to bring about a positive change in

the structural conditions for peace.

The two types are closely linked. We regard the interaction between

them as an essential prerequisite for sustainable peace

education and its contribution to conflict transformation. In the

ong>Berghofong> Foundation’s project Civic and Nonviolent Education in

Jordan we combine training courses and dialogue workshops for

multipliers on the one hand with implementing a curriculum at

universities on the other. Both processes take place in cooperation

with the Ministries of Education and Higher Education.

Evaluating peace education

Does peace education make the difference? Measuring the effects

of peace education is a challenging task given the complexity and

long-term nature of learning processes. Often, there is a lack of

resources to conduct long-term studies, and there is a lack of systematic

experience in how evaluation projects can be developed

and applied in a conflict-sensitive and context-related manner (→

Learning Together). Nevertheless, there is an impressive variety of

evaluation approaches, which mirror the diversity of peace education

practices. In recent years, studies and evaluations have also

demonstrated empirical evidence of peace education benefits.


Educating for Peace

References and Further Reading

Celina Del Felice, Aaron Karako and Andria Wisler (eds.) (2015): Peace Education

Evaluation. Learning from Experience and Exploring Prospects. New York:


Ian M. Harris (2004). Peace Education Theory, in: Journal of Peace Education, Vol.

l, No. l, 5–20.

Uli Jäger (2014). Peace Education and Conflict Transformation. Berlin: ong>Berghofong>

Foundation / Online ong>Berghofong> Handbook for Conflict Transformation.

Gavriel Salomon and Ed Cairns (eds.) (2010). Handbook on Peace Education. New

York / London: Taylor & Francis Group.

Dieter Senghaas (2004). The Civilisation of Conflict. Constructive Pacifism as

a Guiding Notion for Conflict Transformation. In: Transforming Ethnopolitical

Conflict. The ong>Berghofong> Handbook. Edited by A. Austin, M. Fischer and

N. Ropers. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag.

Online Resources

Lynne Cameron and Simon Weatherbed (2015). Empathy Dynamics in Conflict

Transformation. A Manual. https://www.open.ac.uk/creet/main/sites/www.

open.ac.uk.creet.main/files/files/Empathy %20Dynamics %20Manual %20

(web) %20copy.pdf

Global Campaign for Peace Education (GCPE), http://www.peace-ed-campaign.org

International Network for Education in Emergencies, http://www.ineesite.org

Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform, https://sustainabledevelopment.



Empowerment and Ownership

7 Empowerment and


Feras Kheirallah and Barbara Unger

“Power properly understood is nothing but the ability to achieve

purpose. It is the strength required to bring about social, political

and economic change.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

We know that inequality and limited access to opportunity are

key drivers of conflict. Groups that perceive themselves to be disadvantaged

try to change their situation, and may use nonviolent

(or violent) means (→ Addressing Social Grievances). When actors

need to change their behaviour, attitudes and relationships

in order to engage with each other differently, a certain degree of

horizontality and symmetry – of information, capacities, access


Empowerment and Ownership

EMPOWERMENT | a process which enables individuals and organised

groups to increase their power and autonomy to achieve

outcomes they need and desire.

OWNERSHIP | conflict stakeholders and actors having the resources

to assume responsibility for conflict-related challenges

and all aspects of the conflict transformation process, as this

makes it both meaningful and sustainable.

and power – is required. Consequently, asymmetry of power

must be dealt with: “Empowerment is a process through which

individuals or organised groups increase their power and autonomy

to achieve certain outcomes they need and desire” (Eyben,

cited in Combaz & Mcloughlin 2014, 4). Conflict transformation

and peacebuilding need to consider this.

Empowerment is a concept stemming from community sociology

and has been widely explored with regard to gender relations.

It happens at several levels. Individuals who are enabled

to identify and articulate their own interests can help achieve

social change, just as persons who have confidence in their own

skills and strength can contribute, for example as responsible

citizens, to collective processes. Groups, at the next level, are key

to self-empowerment. A shared notion of their own situation, of

collective interests and of the means of achieving them creates

scope for self-reliance and for engagement with the “dominant”

group(s). In this way, relations and interactions can change at

the societal level as well.

Conflict transformation, empowerment and ownership

In conflict transformation, Diana Francis has made the point that

in order to bring structural and cultural violence, such as injustice

and inequality, out of the latent stage, the disadvantaged

(and ideally those who “innocently” gain from the status quo)


Empowerment and Ownership

Stages and processes in conflict transformation

Unequal power


Hidden or latent conflict

Conflict resolution


Awareness raising

Shifting power relations

Mobilization: Group formation

Empowerment for action:

Analysis, strategy, building


Shifting power




Preparing for




Action confrontation:

Open conflict




of stereotypes,

processing the




Long-term co-operation, rebuilding

community, reconstruction/development,

democracy/political participation

Establishing + maintaining healthy power relations

Constant process of peace maintenance

Constructive conflict management for

violence prevention

Graph by: Christoph Lang

Figure 3, source: Diana Francis, 2001

must increase their consciousness of their situation and gain

“power” to challenge it.

Conflict transformation and empowerment share the notion that

only the actors affected can build peace, and that all actors involved

have resources to build on. The main role and responsibility

for conflict transformation hence lie with those who are

affected by conflict. A careful balance must be struck between

helpful and catalytic (outside) intervention and nurturing (local)



Empowerment and Ownership

The issues of ownership, power and agency are at the core of

what we need to discuss when we look at empowerment in conflict

transformation. When we opt for empowerment measures

as an (external) intervention, we need to be very careful of how

these interventions can play out. “Do no harm” (→ Educating for

Peace; → Providing Conflict-Sensitive Refugee Assistance) must

be a guiding principle.

Working with individuals, groups and institutions towards

social change

Some approaches to empowerment focus on supporting individuals

and certain previously marginalised groups to have better

access to resources, information and services, or to influence

decision-makers and legislation and hence improve their living

conditions and situation in a given society. The empowerment of

women can serve as an example. Its purpose is to enable women

first to gain a different understanding of their potential and the

context, and also to access and play an active role in influencing

(if not shaping) policy. New consciousness and a desire for

change do not mean that the empowered women have sufficient

capacities to effect changes in the face of the resistance that their

empowered stance may encounter in society. Therefore, it is crucial

in conflict transformation to understand and enable empowerment

by working at different levels: the individual, the group,

the institutional and finally the societal level.

While only persons and groups can be empowered, they act

within an institutional and societal environment. Thus, working

with existing institutions to entice the people within them

to play a positive role in transforming conflicts begins with understanding

the institutions’ history and importance within society.

Ideally, this happens through a joint analysis of the stakeholders.

Making these institutions more responsive to the whole

of society – for example by strengthening their capacities, enhancing

their internal strategies, enabling exchange with other

institutions, supporting knowledge production and transfer,


Empowerment and Ownership

and sharing experience through mediation and dialogue techniques

– can contribute to transforming conflicts, provided that

the political will is there.

Supporting empowerment as an external actor

The role of outsiders may be to support actors in a multipartial

manner by creating spaces and changing perceptions of roles

and resources. While there is a close connection between selfempowerment

and what externals can contribute for this conscientisation

and change to happen, somewhat paradoxically, “to

empower” has also been used as a transitive verb to describe interventions,

especially in development cooperation and often in

relation to gender issues, which aim to support a certain group.

As Alan Sharland has rightly observed, “It is a self-contradiction

to state on someone’s behalf, without their explicit consent, that

they have ‘been empowered’, or, worse that ‘we have empowered

them’, as in the very act of saying so, we are speaking for them

and assuming the right and power to do so.”

At the individual and group level, participatory analysis of issues,

factors and actors can help, as can exchanges with other

groups or with experts. Training, workshops, coaching and other

measures provide spaces for connection and reflection, which

can lead to a change in attitude and behaviour. If, as said above,

this is not sufficient to effect change, the groups might look for

other mechanisms to support their cause. In Jordan, for example,

independent trade unions were established to protest against

the dysfunctional state-controlled unions. In such situations,

one may need to ask: What institutions are there, how would

they need to change? Are new ones needed? A strategy aimed

at institutional change can start from various angles, depending,

for example, on whether the institution has a mandate to represent

a certain group, or responds to all groups’ demands, but has

not fulfilled that task. It is crucial that these institutions have a

mandate to influence the relationship between decision-makers

at a macro level and those subject to policies at a micro level.


Empowerment and Ownership

If an external actor wants to support such a process, the need

to work with core institutions (for example parliament), powerholders

(for example men) and traditions (for example masculinity)

will most likely come up (→ Gender and Youth). So what

might support for empowerment look like in practice?

External actors can best provide support by enabling internal

self-reflection and a (gradual but sustainable) transformation

process towards a collective understanding and willingness to

play a role in transforming conflicts. In response to ownership issues,

our main task as externals should lie in creating the space

needed for these institutions to develop their own strategies and

tools. In Lebanon, the ong>Berghofong> Foundation performs this role by

supporting the official religious institutions in their efforts to foster

coexistence and tolerance. Transformative external intervention

should then support these institutions in better understanding

or even (re-)defining their actual role and original mandate

and identifying their potential (strengths) as a collective unit

representing a certain group of society in conflict.

Our organisation’s mission, “creating space”, here means providing

a level playing field, as far as possible, so that all actors

can participate. Addressing power asymmetries is at the core of

that work in many conflict settings. Empowerment and clear local

ownership of the empowerment agenda are our preferred approach

for doing just that.

References and Further Reading

Diana Francis (2001). Culture, Power Asymmetries and Gender in Conflict Transformation.

In: ong>Berghofong> Handbook for Conflict Transformation. First Online

Edition. Berlin: ong>Berghofong> Centre for Constructive Conflict Management.

Emilie Combaz and Claire Mcloughlin (2014). Voice, Empowerment and Accountability:

Topic Guide. Birmingham, UK: GSDRC, University of Birmingham.

Johan Galtung (2011). TRANSCEND Method. In The Encyclopaedia of Peace Psychology,

edited by Daniel J. Christie. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.


Empowerment and Ownership

Hannah Reich (2006). “Local Ownership” in Conflict Transformation Projects. Partnership,

Participation or Patronage? ong>Berghofong> Occasional Paper No. 27. Berlin:

ong>Berghofong> Research Center for Constructive Conflict Management.

Online Resources

CDA (2016). Do No Harm Workshop Trainer’s Manual. Cambridge, MA:

Collaborative Learning Projects. http://live-cdacollaborative.pantheonsite.io/


Véronique Dudouet (2017). Powering to Peace: Integrated Civil Resistance and

Peacebuilding Strategies. Special Report No. 1. Washington, DC: International

Center on Nonviolent Conflict. https://www.nonviolent-conflict.org/wpcontent/uploads/2017/04/powering_to_peace_veronique_dudouet_icnc_


Alan Sharland (2007). The Underlying Philosophies of Mediation. Chapter 2:

Empowerment. https://www.communicationandconflict.com/empowerment.



Engaging Donors

8 Engaging Donors

Michael J. Arensen, Beatrix Austin and Andrea Joras

“There is much to be done.”

Georg Zundel

Ending violent conflicts and building peace require the engagement

and resources of a broad alliance of actors. Building such

alliances, as well as building and sustaining peace together, demands

investment: of dedication, capacity and skill, of patience

and experience, and of financial resources and joint value-based

advocacy. At the ong>Berghofong> Foundation, we have worked hard over

the years to cultivate a relationship with our private and public

donors in which we all are partners in shifting public attention

and discourse towards the societal and political issues necessary

to transform conflicts. We have often succeeded, yet we

still face many challenges. As Stephen Heintz, the President of


Engaging Donors

DONOR | persons or institutions giving support – financial as well

as otherwise – to a certain cause or charity. While peacebuilding

relies on creativity and dedication as much as material resources,

engaging donors in this field is indispensable for peacebuilding

work to be scaled up.

the Rockefeller Brothers Fund notes in its 2017 Annual Review,

“social change does not happen overnight. It does not happen

quickly, and it does not happen as a result of a fixed set of strategies.

Change happens over time; it happens because you are

nimble and flexible, but it also happens because you stick with

your goals while finding new ways to make progress even after

experiencing setbacks”.

Total funding for non-violent conflict transformation is still miniscule

compared to the world’s military budgets. In 2018, SIPRI

estimated world military expenditure at USD 1739 billion, of

which the United States government accounts for by far the largest

share, with a military budget of USD 630 billion. By contrast,

the budget of the United Nations and all its agencies is about

USD 40 billion per year, according to the Global Policy Forum – a

mere 2.3 per cent of global military expenditure. Similarly, funds

allocated to development assistance by OECD countries in 2016

amounted to USD 142.6 billion, less than 8.2 per cent of global

military spending, only a small part of which is for peacebuilding.

One estimate puts the global funding for peacebuilding in

2016 at 3.4 billion (ECDPM 2018). These figures remind us that

when it comes to protecting their international interests, states

are determined to maintain their ability to use military means

if necessary. Yet while the development of non-violent alternatives

to a military security paradigm may not be at the top of

governments’ list of priorities, there can be no doubt that states

have a role to play in building peace. They are stakeholders in

the majority of conflicts, and they also control an overwhelming


Engaging Donors

amount of the resources needed for their resolution. Sometimes,

they are also gatekeepers to the transformation of conflicts.

However modest the amount of public funding for peacebuilding

may appear, the contrast to private funding is even greater.

The Peace and Security Funding Index compiles data on grants

awarded by foundations for peace and security issues globally.

The latest year for complete data, 2015, identified a total of USD

351 million for peace and security issues, with roughly USD 188

million (54 per cent) being spent on conflict prevention, resolution,

and peacebuilding. That peace-related issues play at best

a minor role in the philanthropic world is no surprise, given the

challenges, which the peace and security environment presents.

Conflict transformation stands out as being particularly hard to


High risk, high reward

With many states and private donors cutting budgets at a time

of growing global needs, there is an increasing interest in ensuring

the cost-effectiveness and impact of new projects. While

successful violence prevention and conflict transformation are

more cost-effective than humanitarian relief, the impact of conflict

transformation is notoriously more difficult to measure, especially

in the short term. Conflict situations are highly complex

and follow a non-linear and long-term timeframe, as researchers

have pointed out over and over again, not least in several books

co-edited by ong>Berghofong> Foundation staff. In addition, the environments

where conflict transformation is necessary often face

access and security challenges, which reduce scope for monitoring

and evaluation. Governments are major stakeholders in

most conflicts, and shifting geopolitical dynamics and relations

beyond the control of any organisation can limit the short-term

impact of projects. These dynamics are at odds with most available

project-based funding, which is primarily short-term and

requires measurable steps forward and an attainable outcome

at the end. Conflict transformation is, therefore, perceived as a


Engaging Donors

riskier investment, even if it has the potential for much greater


Secondly, conflict transformation, if it aspires to be inclusive, often

involves working with actors who are publicly stigmatised,

such as proscribed groups. This is often highly controversial in

public and political debate. For organisations engaged in this

field, there may also be legal constraints on engaging with such

actors, especially in the post 9/11 world. Legal uncertainty is not

an attractive environment for either non-governmental organisations

or funders to work in. They have to be prepared to deal with

accusations and the possibility of negative public relations fallout,

a risk that private foundations in particular have tended to

shy away from. However, Rob Reich, Co-Director of the Stanford

Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, argues that providing

“risk capital” is the raison d’être of the philanthropic sector. To

cite Stephen Heintz once again, “if we aren’t taking risks and assuming

the possibility of failure some of the time, we aren’t doing

our jobs”.

Balancing interests

As seen in global military expenditure figures, states and international

institutions have access to massive amounts of resources

relative to private foundations. In addition to these resources,

states and international institutions have the potential to engage

diplomatically, increasing leverage on certain stakeholders

by offering ‘sticks’ or ‘carrots’. In this area, close coordination

with peacebuilding actors (international NGOs as well as

local initiatives, which have a thorough understanding of local

conflict dynamics) can therefore be of great value. This coordination

is also beneficial to other actors interested in conflict

transformation and building peace, including the private sector.

That said, public funding or working closely with states or

international bodies can also undermine the efficacy of conflict

transformation. States, in particular, follow a different set of priorities,

which are centred on their own interests and standards.


Engaging Donors

National interests, even in more benign forms such as publicity

for support, can pose a direct risk to any project’s potential. In

a very geopolitically competitive landscape, government funding

is often perceived as having secondary motivations, such as

increasing political influence or promoting a particular ideology.

Much public funding comes with strings attached – publicity for

the donor country – which can be tricky in contexts requiring a

high degree of confidentiality and trust building, including “behind

the scenes”. A clear balance needs to be reached between

the greater financial support and potential diplomatic leverage

of government funding, and the risks that potentially come with

being associated with the state.

Private funding

Private funding for conflict transformation can offer enormous

benefits. Again, these benefits are manifold: they offer an increase

in the material resources required for some of the work,

but just as importantly, they establish a circle of like-minded

individuals who serve as ‘ambassadors’ and multipliers. Being

driven by principles that focus on stakeholders and their relationships,

private funders can credibly interact with non-state

actors and civil society in general. These principles may be hard

to reconcile with conflict realities on the ground, putting nonstate

conflict stakeholders at a critical disadvantage. Were it not

for privately funded initiatives, these actors would often be left

to themselves or fall under the influence of the stronger conflict

party. Finding it easier to reach out and build bridges to a broad

range of actors, privately funded initiatives can help to create

the inclusive peace processes required to tackle today’s ethnopolitical

conflicts, tapping peacebuilding potential which is otherwise

hard to reach. While this means that private funding does

indeed have an important role to play, ultimately the success of

all private initiatives will remain primarily dependent on their

ability to leverage scarce resources by reaching out to states or

international institutions.


Engaging Donors

To do so, they have a spectrum of activities at hand, ranging from

the provision of research, education and information to the direct

engagement of people through non-governmental organisations

and private diplomacy. When these levers are employed adequately

and in a coordinated way, even small-scale initiatives

have the potential to bring about change on a large scale. Nongovernmental

organisations must make sure that their principles

– in the ong>Berghofong> Foundation’s case, these are long-term engagement,

partnership and multipartiality, to name a few – are

in alignment with those of both public and private donors. The

advantage of private (or philanthropic) resources remains that

these funds can be particularly effective in cases where states

and governments cannot or are not willing to provide support.

Lots to do

There is a clear need for further dialogue between implementers

and donors on how to build on their shared interests and needs.

Peacebuilding institutions need to better understand how available

funding is created, such as through government budgets and

election cycles, and what drives private philanthropists to invest

in certain areas. Peacebuilders also need to better demonstrate

clear results and effective investment. In turn donors should recognise

the desire by implementers for more flexible, low-profile

and long-term funding. There are no simple solutions, but improved

communication and education are necessary to ensure

that the needs of donors, both private and public, and conflict

transformation institutions can be met. More stories about the

successes achieved, often with minimal to modest financial investment

(but with intense personal and creative engagement by

insider and outsider actors), should be told – by us, our peers

and our donors. The potential impact that such initiatives can

achieve is enormous. Answering the challenge of violent conflict

does not only relieve human suffering; it can also free up vast

resources that can be put to more beneficial use.


Engaging Donors

References and Further Reading

Scilla Elworthy (2017). The Business Plan for Peace. Building a World Without War.

London (self-published).

Hans J. Giessmann and Roger Mac Ginty, with Beatrix Austin and Christine Seifert

(eds.) (2018). The Elgar Companion to Post-Conflict Transition. London:

Edward Elgar Publishing Limited.

Daniela Körppen, Norbert Ropers and Hans J. Giessmann (eds.) (2011). The

Non-Linearity of Peace Processes – Theory and Practice of Systemic Conflict

Transformation. Opladen/Farmington Hills: Barbara Budrich Publishers.

Rob Reich (2013). What Are Foundations For? In: Boston Review, March/April 2013.

SIPRI (2018). SIPRI Yearbook 2018. Armaments, Disarmament and International

Security. Summary. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

SIPRI (2017). SIPRI Yearbook 2017. Armaments, Disarmament and International

Security. Summary in German. Berlin/Stockholm: SIPRI, FES and ong>Berghofong>


Georg Zundel (2006). “Es muss viel geschehen!” Erinnerungen eines friedenspolitisch

engagierten Naturwissenschaftlers. Berlin: Verlag Dr. Michael Engel.

Online Resources

ong>Berghofong> Foundation, Annual Reports, https://www.berghof-foundation.org/en/


ECDPM, Supporting Peacebuilding in Times of Change report series 2018,


Global Policy Forum, www.globalpolicy.org

OECD, www.oecd.org

Peace and Security Funding Index, http://peaceandsecurityindex.org/

Rockefeller Brothers Fund (2018). 2017 Annual Review. Charting Our Progress:

2015-2017. New York. https://www.rbf.org/about/2017-annual-review


Establishing Infrastructures for Peace

9 Establishing Infrastructures

for Peace

Mir Mubashir, Rebecca Davis and Radwa Salah

“Giving peace an address.”

Ulrike Hopp-Nishanka

We are familiar with the term ‘infrastructure’ in relation to the

social, economic and technical infrastructure of a country or an

organisation. There, it refers to the underlying foundation and

the basic physical and organisational framework, structures,

services and facilities such as buildings, transport systems and

power supplies, which an entity needs and uses in order to work

effectively. What infrastructures does peace need? A burgeoning

term in the peacebuilding field, infrastructures for peace – i4p

(or peace infrastructures) constitute a multitude of tangible and


Establishing Infrastructures for Peace

INFRASTRUCTURE FOR PEACE | all things tangible and intangible

that contribute to sustaining peace through (re)building

constructive social and political relationships and transforming

conflict. Also the resources, structures and mechanisms

for enhancing societal resilience – the ability to recover from

setbacks, overcome trauma and build the resources to adapt

to change and adversity.

intangible elements that contribute to sustaining peace through

(re)building constructive social and political relationships and

transforming conflict. i4p also constitute the resources, structures

and mechanisms for enhancing societal resilience – the

ability to recover from setbacks, overcome trauma and build

the resources to adapt to change and adversity. All these constituents

are networked and interdependent and are kept alive

through dynamic communication and interaction.

i4p may constitute entities and processes at various levels of formality:

formal, non-formal and semi-formal, and may accordingly

encompass national, subnational and local/community

levels. In some cases, they are established top-down, while in

others they evolve more organically bottom-up. They may be

formal national institutions, such as peace ministries, which are

ideally connected to local mechanisms for dealing with conflict,

such as local peace committees. They may respond to political

crisis, stimulate fundamental change or address transitional issues

(e. g. National Dialogue and truth and reconciliation commissions).

They may be informal networks at the community

level for early warning/action. Some i4p evolve as temporary

mechanisms for addressing short-term triggers of violence, e. g.

during election periods, and then eventually wind up. In many

cases, however, permanent institutions and mechanism are established

to address long-term socio-economic structural violence

and the socio-cultural discourses that legitimise it. These


Establishing Infrastructures for Peace

Constituents of i4p

Entities and


• Institutions

• Mechanisms

• Funds

Cultures and


• Rules

• Policies

• Strategies

Peacebuilding actors

and their resources

• Skills

• Capacities

• Values

• Legitimacy


• (Re)build constructive

social and political


• Transform conflict

• Enhance societal

re silience

• Sustain peace

Methods and


• (Sustained) Dialogue

• (Insider) Mediation

• (Everyday and Multitrack)


• Peace Education

Systems and


• Early Warning and


• Crisis Management

• Transitional justice

• Dealing with the past

• Reconciliation

Figure 4, source: ong>Berghofong> Foundation; Mir Mubashir et al.

i4p may need to change and evolve over time to address the conflict


A fluid and “networked” model of i4p can ensure horizontal and

vertical coordination: formal political settlement efforts by state

actors can be bridged to grassroots peacebuilding efforts of insider

peacebuilders/mediators. Engaging with insider mediators

has been a focus of the ong>Berghofong> Foundation for many years.


Establishing Infrastructures for Peace

Considerations for establishing i4p

There is still a lot to be done to exhaustively map, identify and

understand existing i4p. While it has been popular since the

mid-1990s to speak of local capacities and approaches, much

more could be done to share experience and improve collaboration

to strengthen this local expertise. Some points to keep in

mind, based on lessons learned in the practice of establishing


Letting i4p organically evolve and become sustainable

i4p need to evolve organically, according to the needs of the specific

conflict context; they cannot be prescribed or result from international

pressure. International actors must avoid a “one size

fits all” approach of transporting blueprints between contexts.

They should instead be willing to learn from the local cultural,

ethnic and religious contexts and help to shape the evolution

of i4p, if asked to do so. They must be seen as legitimate and

trustworthy by all conflict stakeholders. This may even open up

opportunities for insider funding of i4p, perhaps with local and

national entrepreneurs earmarking financial resources to support

them. If i4p are primarily created with international donors’

project funding, it is important to ensure that they are able to

continue functioning when the funding runs out.

Managing inclusivity

Being inclusive and participatory is a challenging endeavour

in governance and peacebuilding with regard to scope, quality

and ‘will’ (→ Inclusivity and Participation). While at the local/

community level – such as local peace committees or community

policing mechanisms – scope and quality may be manageable,

in many contexts inclusivity is a challenge. Especially in

traditional, patriarchal and gerontocratic societies i4p tend to be

exclusionary of women, young people and marginalised groups.

Managing scope and quality is more challenging for i4p at the

subnational and national level. Incremental and iterative inclusion

mechanisms (as in peace processes and National Dialogues)

may prove beneficial in this regard. It is important to energise the


Establishing Infrastructures for Peace

“networking engine” of i4p. This “engine” is made up of entities

and individuals, especially insider mediators, who can keep the

communication alive between various i4p constituents, and also

deal with “spoilers” who attempt to render i4p ineffective and

disrupt communication flows.

Keeping networking and communication alive

Managing local-subnational-national-international connections

and coordination is easier said than done. In particular, the crucial

subnational links between the local and national layers of

i4p are often neglected or under-resourced. Insider mediators

usually play a key role in keeping an overview of the linkages

(and the lack thereof), and raise awareness and mobilise resources

accordingly. The state sometimes plays a coordinating

role, albeit to a limited degree.

Handling exploitation

The permanence of certain i4p as state institutions may make

them vulnerable to corruption and abuse by political parties.

International actors may also exploit certain i4p for their own

agendas. All i4p constituents should contain an accountability

and integrity mechanism, which can re-evaluate their mandate,

and staffing, and dissolve the institution if need be.

Rethinking dependency

i4p should not entirely depend on the support and political will

of state or international actors. As mentioned above, they should

be seen as embedded in the ‘everyday’ notions of peace in the

different layers of social and political life. i4p are, however, more

effective if there is a political commitment from the state and

conflict parties to contribute to their functions.


Establishing Infrastructures for Peace

Background knowledge …

First of its kind in the development of the i4p concept

One of the first instances of i4p emerged in South Africa: a

National Peace Secretariat, and Peace Committees at several

levels – local, regional and national – were established to supervise

the implementation of the 1991 Peace Accord. Building

on joint and inclusive ownership, these institutions were

part of a comprehensive framework for peacebuilding. The

Peace Committees, for example, are thought to have helped

to determine South Africa’s political future by bringing apartheid

to a halt in 1994. The South African i4p were successful

in containing violence and preparing the ground for peaceful


A top-down i4p

To ensure the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace

Agreement of 2006 and to coordinate national peace efforts,

Nepal established the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction.

The ministry linked government institutions with local peace

councils and mediation centres. The Nepalese i4p’s service

functions included negotiation support, advice to political

parties, and access to justice through community mediation.

A bottom-up i4p

Local initiatives to address resource and political conflict in

Wajir County in Northern Kenya in the early 1990s were such a

great source of inspiration that they became institutionalised

in national policy. The National Steering Committee on Peacebuilding

and Conflict Management now coordinates the work

of peacebuilders and institutions on a national scale.

An institutionalised i4p

The National Peace Council of Ghana institutionalised the efforts

of networks of insider mediators to prevent and address


Establishing Infrastructures for Peace

election-related violence in particular. The state created a Peacebuilding

Support Unit to coordinate with other government agencies,

and also appointed Peace Promotion Officers at subnational


The power of multi-layered regional i4p

Early warning and response systems used by the African regional

organisations ECOWAS and IGAD rely on networks of local monitors

who also act as first response teams, exploring and mediating

local tensions while also alerting and involving governmental

and regional actors.

i4p responding to crisis and transition

Tunisia’s Quartet (a coalition of non-state actors led by the General

Labour Union, UGTT) played a crucial role in creating a political

space for dialogue and cooperation, mediating tensions

and ensuring the political transition after the ‘Arab Spring’. The

Quartet was not a governmental body, but as the members were

influential and considered credible actors across constituencies,

it proved to be a critical component of the Tunisian national infrastructures

for peace.

i4p mechanisms for dealing with the past

Truth and reconciliation commissions are an important component

of transitional justice. The commissions enable society to

understand and reflect on the painful past and to build a new

national identity. Truth commissions in El Salvador proved essential

in instigating a review of the legal system and improving

the protection of human rights in the country.


Establishing Infrastructures for Peace

References and Further Reading

Tobi P. Dress (2005). “Designing a Peacebuilding Infrastructure: Taking a Systems

Approach to the Prevention of Deadly Conflict.” Development Dossier – United

Nations. The United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service (NGLS).

ECDPM and EU (2012). “Strengthening National Capacities for Mediation and

Dialogue: National Dialogue Platforms and Infrastructures for Peace.”

Factsheet – EEAS Mediation Support Project – Knowledge Product. Brussels:

European Centre for Development Policy Management. European External

Action Service.

Hans-Joachim Giessmann (2016). “Embedded Peace. Infrastructures for Peace:

Approaches and Lessons Learned.” UNDP.

John Paul Lederach (2012). “The Origins and Evolution of Infrastructures for Peace:

A Personal Reflection.” Journal of Peacebuilding & Development 7 (3), 8–13.

Jordan Ryan (2012). “Infrastructures for Peace as a Path to Resilient Societies:

An Institutional Perspective.” Journal of Peacebuilding & Development 7 (3),


Barbara Unger, Stina Lundström, Katrin Planta and Beatrix Austin (eds.) (2013).

Peace Infrastructures: Assessing Concept and Practice. ong>Berghofong> Handbook

Dialogue Series 10. Berlin: ong>Berghofong> Foundation.

Online Resources

Peace Portal, Infrastructures for Peace, https://www.peaceportal.org/web/i4p

Special Issue: Journal of Peacebuilding and Development,


Feature: Insider Mediators, ong>Berghofong> Foundation,



Facilitating Negotiation and Dialogue

10 Facilitating Negotiation

and Dialogue

Theresa Breitmaier and Frans Schram

“Nobody is as wise as we all together.”

African proverb

When working to overcome differences on a political and societal

level in order to transform violent conflicts, the facilitation of

dialogues and negotiations is a key tool for peacebuilders. Over

time, the applications of facilitation as a peacebuilding tool have

diversified. Facilitated processes are now implemented with a

broad range of participants such as decision-makers in their private

capacity (informal track 1 processes), influential individuals

and analysts from civil society (track 2 processes), or mixtures of

civil society and decision-makers (track 1.5 processes).


Facilitating Negotiation and Dialogue

FACILITATION | the assistance of an accepted “third party” to ease

the management of communication and process of dialogue, negotiation

or other encounters. Facilitation happens before, during

and after meetings.

DIALOGUE | a face-to-face interaction between people with different

backgrounds, convictions and opinions, in which they respect

each other as human beings and are prepared to listen to

– and learn from – each other deeply enough to inspire a change

of attitudes.

NEGOTIATION | back-and-forth communication designed to reach

an agreement in a situation where parties on different sides of

the situation in question have a number of interests in common

and others that are conflicting.

All three are central to peacemaking as well as peacebuilding and

play a role in all peace processes.

The different terms used to describe the communicative aspects

of third-party (or occasionally insider-peacebuilder) involvement

in a peace process have significant conceptual and practical


Facilitating transformative dialogue

Dialogue methods and benefits

Dialogue, face-to-face interaction between people with different

backgrounds, convictions and opinions, in which they respect

each other as human beings and are prepared to listen to each

other deeply enough to inspire change of attitudes or learning,

is one central means – if not the classical one – of dealing with

conflicts in a constructive way. As the saying goes, ‘as long as

you’re talking, you can’t be shooting’. What better method is

there of resolving a dispute – according to another common-


Facilitating Negotiation and Dialogue

On terminology …

Facilitation is characterised by the presence of an accepted

“third party”, who assists the negotiating (or conflict) parties in

managing key elements of the communication and/or negotiation

process. While mediation (→ Mediation and Mediation Support),

a semi-directive type of facilitation, emphasises the need

to reach a mutually accepted agreement, many facilitators focus

more on improving the relationship and general communication

between the parties. Facilitators and mediators both help the

group to communicate more effectively and improve their mutual

understanding. Their responsibilities relate to the process rather

than the content but facilitators can also act to some extent as

creative content providers for enriching the discussion.

Dialogue, as Norbert Ropers defines it in “Basics of Dialogue Facilitation”,

is the meaningful and meaning-creating exchange of

perceptions and opinions and is one of the methods people most

frequently turn to when addressing conflictive issues peacefully.

Negotiation can be broadly defined as a communication process

between two or more actors, who are mutually interdependent,

for the ostensible purpose of reaching an agreement on a situation

perceived as a problem or conflict. In many ways, negotiation

is a basic means of getting what you want from others. It is

back-and-forth communication designed to reach an agreement

in a situation where parties on different sides of the situation in

question have a number of interests in common and others that

are conflicting.

sense observation – than through an honest exchange of views?

In contrast to the terms “discussion” and “debate”, which focus

primarily on the content of a conversation, the word “dialogue”

places equal emphasis on the relationship between the persons


Facilitating Negotiation and Dialogue

involved and avoids the usual element of “competition” as much

as possible. The central goal is to try to create a different kind of

communication and a deeper understanding of one’s own needs

and interests as well as those of the other side. This paves the

way to exploring better ways of preventing, managing, resolving

or even transforming conflict.

Some of the elements widely regarded as hallmarks of constructive

dialogue are:

demonstrating respect for and acknowledging the equality

of all dialogue participants with their unique background and


developing active listening skills and empathy for the contributions

from all dialogue partners;

suspending one’s own assumptions, ideas, emotions, and

opinions for some time to allow new impulses to emerge;

speaking from the heart and expressing one’s own truth in a

genuine manner, emphasising the process, which has influenced

one’s own position, rather than the result;

slowing down the process of communication and interaction,

opening up to new insights, and exploring opportunities for joint


While dialogues are important to help transform relationships,

promote empathy, and inspire problem-solving, they are, of

course, no substitute for efforts to address structural causes and

engage with the power-political aspects of the conflict. The ideal

requirements will rarely be achieved in the context of highly escalated

conflicts. There, the affected persons may be reluctant

even to meet each other face-to-face, for example, when the political

escalation has created “moral”, legal, and/or physical barriers

to encounters with the “enemy”. The main challenges, however,

are rooted much more deeply, in the participants’ concepts

of identity and their perceptions, fears (for example of losing

face or being seen as weak), and feelings about each other. One

fundamental requirement for any promising dialogue is therefore

the creation of “safe spaces” for these meetings.


Facilitating Negotiation and Dialogue

Some dialogues are one-off events, but most peace professionals

are convinced that it is necessary to envision effective dialogues

as long-term processes with a relatively continuous group of participants.

A broad spectrum of dialogue methods and tools has been developed

to promote social change and to develop creative modes of

participatory learning. Some of the approaches at the disposal of

a facilitator are:

inspiring participants to engage with each other in a variety

of settings (e. g. using open-space techniques or the World Café


encouraging participants to speak about their conflict-related

experiences, grievances, and expectations in a manner which

enables more constructive interaction (e. g. through story-telling

or biographical work, an approach explored and honed by the

ong>Berghofong> Foundation, for example in the South Caucasus);

making use of creative methods to promote empathy and a

change of perspectives (e. g. theatre work, change laboratories,

or role reversals);

generating alternative visions of the future (scenario-building,

future workshops, and the like, another area that the ong>Berghofong>

Foundation is investigating both in its research and in its

practical engagement).

Criticism of dialogue projects

Criticism of dialogue projects in the peacebuilding and conflict

transformation field has focused mainly on the strategic deficits

of dialogues and the difficulties in assessing their impact. Many

dialogue initiatives seem to be based on the simple assumption

that just bringing together representatives of conflicting parties

will do some good and cannot do harm. This assumption can no

longer be justified in light of various cases in which participants

were attacked by hardliners from their constituency because

of their encounters with the “enemy”. At the same time, there

is no doubt that many dialogue projects at the grassroots and

middle levels have contributed significantly to creating islands


Facilitating Negotiation and Dialogue

and cultures of peace – even if these efforts often fail to translate

into a macro-political impact (→ Establishing Infrastructures for


Another criticism is that dialogues can be harmful in highly

asymmetric conflicts if they conceal the inherent inequalities on

the ground by creating the formal impression of a “symmetrical

dialogue”. While the more powerful representatives then may

glorify their openness to dialogue on “difficult” issues, representatives

of the less powerful party often perceive these encounters

as a waste of time, a fig leaf or, even worse, as reinforcing the

unequal status quo.

In the ong>Berghofong> Foundation’s experience, as with all other tools of

peacebuilding and conflict transformation it is crucial to conceptualise

dialogue work within a strategic context and an explicit

theory of change and to be prepared for a long-term process with

parallel efforts to address the structural drivers of conflict.

Facilitating negotiation as a tool for peace support work

Transformation models build on the assumption that a conflict

develops from its latent phase towards a manifest phase. This is

because conflict parties evolve and mature over time: a “party to

the conflict” develops, at a later stage when the situation is ‘ripe’,

into a “party to the negotiations”. In other words, (meaningful)

negotiation and mediation can only take place and succeed

when the parties acknowledge that there is indeed a conflict and

when they accept the other party’s relevance in achieving some

form of (re)solution.

Due to its open-ended character and flexible selection of participants,

facilitation can be a good tool in creating spaces for

encounters, exchange, and (possibly, preparatory) dialogue in

situations where negotiation is impossible, either because parties

do not accept its necessity or because official negotiation

formats exist but the process is not dynamic and shows signs of


Facilitating Negotiation and Dialogue

a stalemate. (See also → Mediation and Mediation Support and

→ Breaking Deadlocks.)

Outside of working with two or more warring parties, facilitation

can also be directed towards social and political reform on one

side only. The facilitated process empowers participants to advocate

reforms that are also influenced by the views, hopes, and

problems of the “other side” (→ Empowerment and Ownership).

Mutual understanding, respect and recognition create the framework

for people to define their own issues.

References and Further Reading

Roger Fisher and William Ury (2011). Getting to Yes: Negotiating an Agreement

without Giving In. Updated and revised edition. New York: Penguin Books.

Marianne Mille Bojer, Heiko Roehl, Marianne Knuth and Colleen Magner (2008).

Mapping Dialogue: Essential Tools for Social Change. Chagrin Falls, OH: Taos

Institute Publications.

Oliver Ramsbotham (2016). When Conflict Resolution Fails: An Alternative to Negotiation

and Dialogue: Engaging Radical Disagreement in Intractable Conflicts.

London: Polity.

Online Resources

Norbert Ropers (2017). Basics of Dialogue Facilitation. Berlin: ong>Berghofong> Foundation.


Other_Resources/Ropers_BasicsofDialogueFacilitation.pdf [also in Spanish

and Arabic]

Marike Blunck et al. (2017). National Dialogue Handbook: A Guide for

Practitioners. Berlin: ong>Berghofong> Foundation. https://www.berghof-foundation.


BF-NationalDialogue-Handbook.pdf [also in Spanish, French and Arabic]

Andrea Zemskov-Züge and Oliver Wolleh (eds.) (2018). “Changing the Past in

our Heads”: A Facilitator’s Guide to Listening Workshops. Berlin: ong>Berghofong>

Foundation. https://www.berghof-foundation.org/fileadmin/redaktion/



Fostering Human Security

11 Fostering Human Security

Hans J. Giessmann, Andreas Schädel and Basir Feda

“Peace, to have meaning for many who have known only suffering

in both peace and war, must be translated into bread or rice,

shelter, health, and education, as well as freedom and human

dignity – a steadily better life.”

Ralph J. Bunche

Security, in the literal sense of the word, means a state free from

care (lat. se cura). Since the first nation-states emerged in the

mid-16th century up until the end of World War II, security was

commonly understood as the primary concern of states to maintain

external sovereignty and to avert any threats from the outside,

particularly military threats from other states. This understanding

has changed fundamentally in recent decades.


Fostering Human Security

HUMAN SECURITY | a comprehensive, people-centred and prevention-oriented

concept that includes protection from threats

in the area of economic, food, health, environmental, personal,

community and political security.

The erosion of the traditional understanding of security

There are countless examples throughout history where seeking

“security” has served to justify wars and raids, conquering

colonies and oppressing peoples. Security policy was a zero-sum

game played according to the law of the strongest, with security

of the powerful being based on the insecurity of the less powerful.

This narrow understanding of security – sovereignty and

protection of states – was called into question when humankind

entered the nuclear age.

Since any use of nuclear weapons harbours the risk of uncontrollable

devastation, it was the interdependence of security, between

the “haves” and the “have-nots”, which became a political

issue. A deep understanding of this new dimension of threat,

and of the responsibility of social and natural scientists to work

together to find ways of better dealing with conflict than weaponised

security, was an important impulse for the founding of the

ong>Berghofong> Foundation for Conflict Studies in the 1970s.

Growing awareness of nuclear interdependence has also helped

to carve out a growing consciousness that security is no longer

just a military issue or privilege only of states. Rather, structural

interdependences may also exist because of other – nonmilitary

– risks or threats to physical existence and between

unequally powerful social actors in conflict, such as between

dysfunctional governments and an organised opposition in fragile

states. Structural interdependence and power asymmetries

may thus become a strong driver of interests in → Conflict Transformation.


Fostering Human Security

A broader concept of security

In the 1970s and 1980s, an originally small-scale expert debate

reached public attention when it considered non-military “global

risks” such as climate change, resource scarcity, under-development

and modern epidemics to be triggers for armed conflict,

posing a threat to the security of states and peoples that is almost

equal to war. The hitherto undisputed traditional security focus

on military threats became contested. As the Report of the World

Commission on Environment and Development (Brundtland Report)

stated in 1987:


“Conflicts may arise not only because of political and

military threats to national sovereignty; they may derive

also from environmental degradation and the pre-emption

of development options. … Action to reduce environmental

threats to security requires a redefinition of priorities,

nationally and globally. Such a redefinition could evolve

through the widespread acceptance of broader forms

of security assessment and embrace military, political,

environmental, and other sources of conflict.”

A security policy that cares about non-military risks and threats

needs different tools and approaches than military defence.

Moreover, risks which have a global scope by nature can hardly

be mitigated, let alone resolved, by nation-state-based policies.

International, and in most cases transnational, collaboration

is required. Yet the political dominance of traditional security

thinking has remained an obstacle to the constructive enlargement

of security perspectives. Negotiations on global risks such

as climate change, water scarcity and threats to biodiversity

demonstrate both a growing sense of the need for global cooperation

and the difficulty of nation-states in reaching compromise

over competing interests.

In their effort to maintain the upper hand, the more powerful

states in particular tend to “securitise” their policies, i. e. to defend

their own interests rather than to seek fair arrangements, as

Fostering Human Security

the current migration regime of the European Union illustrates.

The issue area of preventing violent extremism shows similar

ill effects of “securitisation”, as one of our most recent ong>Berghofong>

Handbook Dialogues made clear. Pursuing security policy at the

cost of others, however, will sooner or later turn interdependence

into more insecurity for all.

From enlarged security to human security

The worldwide cascade of radical political and societal changes

after the end of the Cold War influenced the manner in which security

concepts were viewed across the globe. The political and

social changes, in combination with the impact of global risks,

affected everyone’s lives. Against this background, the 1994 Annual

Report of the United Nations Development Programme

coined the term “human security”, defined as the freedom from

fear (i. e. protection from violence) and the freedom from want

(i. e. a more holistic approach to security that includes protection

from hunger, diseases and natural disasters) for each individual.

Human security was designed as a comprehensive, people-centred

and prevention-oriented concept that includes protection

from threats in the area of economic, food, health, environmental,

personal, community and political security. The revolutionary

aspect was not only that it reconfigured the traditional security

paradigm and advocated a holistic concept that combined

security and development policy as mutually reinforcing; it also

linked the idea of human security to the responsibility of states

to provide the necessary conditions.

Japan and Canada were among the first states to adopt the concept

of human security in their national policies. Canada focused

mainly on protection from a variety of threats, whereas

Japan adopted a mix reflected in the UN debates, with a stronger

focus on education, health and the environment to “change lifestyles”

in order to fulfil every human’s potential.


Fostering Human Security

Security Concepts

Traditional Security


Protection of states against

military threats from other states

Level of Actors



and Approaches

Defence policy; alliances of states;

codification and enforcement

of international and humanitarian law

Table 2, source: ong>Berghofong> Foundation

For the first time, the sovereignty of states to act domestically

as they see fit was challenged in cases where governments flagrantly

disregarded universal human rights and freedoms. The

concept of the “responsibility to protect” was developed by the

International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty

in 2001 and it pushed the issue further, by stating that governments

should not be allowed to threaten their own citizens and if

found to be doing so should be duly sanctioned with a mandate

from the international community.

Of course, the legitimacy and the accountability of states to act

under the auspices of responsibility to protect remain a matter of

concern, due to the possible inclination of major powers to in-


Fostering Human Security

Comprehensive Security

Protection of states

and their societies against

military and non-military

(non-traditional) threats

and risks


Collaborative and integrative

strategies for all policy

areas, including military

and civilian elements;

securitisation of policies

Human Security

Protection of all human

beings from being threatened,

regardless of the origin of

threats (freedom from fear and

freedom from want)

States, non-governmental

organisations, social groups,


Dominance of civilian strategies

to provide living conditions in

peace, dignity, prosperity for


tervene for selfish reasons under the banner of “responsibility”.

But the new interpretation of human security and the protection

of populations against arbitrary state behaviour are important

positive reference points for conflict transformation.

If states are held accountable for guaranteeing human security

– and since sustainable development and just peace are

intrinsic prerequisites for human security, and vice versa – the

chances increase of making social and political relationship patterns

more peaceful. The concept of human security addresses

the underlying causes of violent conflict, which are of primary

concern for conflict transformation, and directs attention to the

sustained prevention of violence. Conversely, conflict transfor-


Fostering Human Security

mation is a promising approach to support the goal of human

security because it aims to transform the security sector and others

and to change patterns of security behaviour, contributing to

turning structural and inter-personal conflicts into constructive


References and Further Reading

David Andersen-Rodgers and Kerry Crawford (2018). Human Security: Theory and

Action. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.

Mohammed Abu-Nimer (2018). Islamization, Securitization, and Peacebuilding

Responses to Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism, in: Lisa Schirch

(ed.) The Ecology of Violent Extremism: Perspectives on Human Security and

Peacebuilding. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 218–225.

David Bosold and Sascha Werthes (2005). Human Security in Practice: Canadian

and Japanese Experiences, in: International Politics and Society [Internationale

Politik und Gesellschaft], 1/2005, 84–101.

Barry Buzan et al. (1997). Security: A New Framework for Analysis. Boulder: Lynne

Rienner Publishers.

ICISS (2001). The Responsibility to Protect. Report of the International Commission

on Intervention and State Sovereignty. Ottawa: International Development

Research Centre.

Robert Picciotto et al. (2007). Global Development and Human Security. London:


Online Resources

Our Common Future (1987). Report of the World Commission on Environment

and Development (Brundtland Report). UN Documents A/42/427, www.undocuments.net/ocf-11.htm#II.

United Nations (ed.) (2003). Human Security Now: Protecting and Empowering

People. New York: Communications Development Inc., https://reliefweb.int/



United Nations (ed.) (2017). The Sustainable Development Goals Report,



Simon Fraser University – Human Security Project, http://www.css.ethz.ch/en/



Gender and Youth: Changing Perspective

12 Gender and Youth:

Changing Perspective

Julian Demmer, with Nico Schernbeck, Selin Aksoy

and Karla Sanel

“Youth [and women] should not be on the table, but around

the table.”

UN Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security

Thinking in images is a useful exercise to understand how deeply

gendered our associations with war and peace are and how

none of us can escape “doing gender”, and indeed, “doing stereotypes”,

as part of our everyday thinking and actions. Because

habitual thoughts are the ones we question least, gender studies

are a helpful tool in making us aware of how individual identities

are shaped. They also help to critically analyse the social


Gender and Youth: Changing Perspective

GENDER | the fact of being male or female, especially when considered

with reference to social and cultural differences, not differences

in biology

YOUTH | a transitional phase from childhood to adolescence

Both can be seen as socially constructed categories that are associated

with assigned roles, statuses, duties and responsibilities.

Transformative approaches broaden our view to acknowledge the

positive contributions by all, but also highlight the constricting

consequences of certain roles and ascriptions.

construction of “masculinities” and “femininities” and the gendered

organisation of public and private life in war- and peacetime,

as Cordula Reimann has pointed out. In contrast to gender,

which continuously shapes individuals’ (self-)perception,

youth is a transitional phase from childhood to adolescence. It

is associated with certain milestones within socio-economic and

cultural contexts and, therefore, does not allow for a universally

agreed numerical definition.

Turning to the numerous commonalities between gender and

youth, both can be seen as socially constructed categories that

are associated with assigned roles, statuses, duties and responsibilities.

It is commonly acknowledged that both women and

youth are disproportionately affected by violence and conflict.

However, both groups are often overlooked and marginalised in

peace processes. The international women, peace, and security

and the youth, peace, and security communities therefore have

complementary agendas, which seek to shed light on women

and youth not only as victims of violence during times of conflict,

but also as positive change agents in transforming conflicts.

Ultimately, it is essential to look at (young) women’s and young

men’s unique experiences of conflict and violence in order to

meaningfully include their voices and change perspectives.


Gender and Youth: Changing Perspective

Imagine …

When you close your eyes and think about “war”, what do you

see? If you see a person, is it a man or a woman, and is she old

or young? Do you see a raped man lying dead on the ground with

his crying children around him? Do you see a young girl with a

grimy face pointing her AK-47 at you? What about the people at

the conference shaking hands as they sign a peace agreement?

Do you imagine them as women or men, young or old?

Conflict transformation through a gender and youth lens

While often neglected, gender- and youth-sensitive perspectives

constitute important analytical dimensions of conflict transformation,

both in terms of understanding causes and effects of (violent)

conflict and in identifying means for their transformation.

On a macro level, such perspectives consider patriarchal and

gerontocratic structures and the resulting (in)equalities to be

root causes of conflict. Women and young people tend to be excluded

from formal and informal socio-political and economic

spaces. Often, traditional and cultural norms lend (advanced)

age and (male) gender power and authority, thereby establishing

hierarchies that prevent youth or women from entering political

spheres and decision-making arenas.

This structural exclusion is most vivid in formal peace processes,

which tend to be the preserve of older males. Prevailing simplistic

stereotypes – such as the youth-bulge-violence nexus, conflating

young male populations with violence, or viewing women

as passive victims – further hinder their active engagement

in peace processes. In turn, this violence of exclusion fosters the

very negative stereotypes that lead to their marginalisation in the

first place, which risks certain groups resorting to violence as a

means of resolving conflict.


Gender and Youth: Changing Perspective

On a micro level, the perspectives on women and youth in contexts

of violent conflict have long focused on the role of women

as victims and young men as perpetrators of violence and spoilers

of peace. These stereotypical views may be internalised and

projected onto peers, further strengthening negative perspectives

and fuelling destructive spirals of violence. Certainly, young

men represent the majority of fighters and consequently the majority

of casualties in armed violence and young women suffer

most from gender-based violence (UNFPA 2015, 21). Yet these

tendencies mask multifaceted experiences. Men too become victims

of gender-based violence. The role of female combatants is

increasingly being explored, with the ong>Berghofong> Foundation at the

forefront of action research on female ex-combatants’ post-war

leadership roles.

Finally, it is essential not to overlook the fact that the vast majority

of young people are not involved in violence. For a long time,

the predominance of stereotypical victim and perpetrator perspectives

neglected the key roles of women and young people in

preventing violence, transforming conflict and sustaining peace.

In recent years, interest has slowly turned towards these missing

pieces and more differentiated analysis, by highlighting the

various ways in which these actors have exerted their positive

agency in formal and informal peace processes. Although their

full potential remains poorly understood, recent studies indicate

the positive contributions of women’s participation in peace processes,

especially when they influence decision-making (O’Reilly

2015). Likewise, anecdotal evidence of young people’s activities

in peace processes – ranging from raising awareness of peace

and justice to facilitating dialogue or even negotiations with

armed groups on behalf of their communities – sketch a promising

youth space of conflict transformation, which has been overlooked

for too long.


Gender and Youth: Changing Perspective

The practitioner’s perspective

Emphasising the moral and pragmatic imperative of taking

women and youth into account, UN Security Council Resolution

1325 on women, peace, and security and then Resolution 2250 on

youth, peace, and security have boosted the production of policy

guidelines, planning toolboxes and lessons learned reports. Gender

and youth mainstreaming are increasingly understood as

important instruments for planning and implementing inclusive

and effective peacebuilding interventions. However, there are

still many conceptual and methodological challenges to address

in order to make conflict transformation a truly gender-sensitive

and youth-inclusive endeavour. These range from the conception

of gender analysis as primarily concerned with “women’s

issues” and gender experts as necessarily being women, to the

perception of gender and youth mainstreaming as an annoying

“must” and additional workload instead of a helpful tool to improve

planning and enhance the effectiveness and sustainability

of interventions. Despite it being an obviously heterogeneous

group, definitions of youth tend to be overly simplistic and

gender-equal, missing the specific needs, interests and positions

of young people in peace processes and therefore hampering efforts

aimed at meaningful inclusion. Even when they are included

in peace processes, this inclusion is very restricted, tokenistic

and limited to “youth issues” such as education or employment,

instead of providing or strengthening existing spaces where they

interact and engage with other stakeholders, perhaps eventually

transforming existing power hierarchies.

Changing perspectives … but a long way to go

The peacebuilding field in general has come a long way in developing

policy frameworks that reflect a mature perspective

on actors, processes, causes and transformation of conflicts

(→ Building and Sustaining Peace; → Transforming Conflict). The

United Nations Secretary-General’s prevention and sustaining

peace agendas and the associated women, peace, and security

and youth, peace, and security agendas are prominent examples


Gender and Youth: Changing Perspective

in this respect that emphasise the important role that traditionally

marginalised actors like women and young people play in

conflict transformation. However, in order to translate these

norms into practices that would foster genuine, context-specific

and therefore meaningful inclusion of women and young people

in formal and informal peace processes, interventions need to

be based on a complex understanding about their unique roles

and qualities to shape peace processes as well as the specific

challenges to their inclusion. Applying a gender and youth lens

unveils spaces of the everyday where these actors work for peace

– as explored, for example, by Mir Mubashir and Irena Grizelj.

Strengthening these efforts and encouraging others to engage

will help in overcoming prevailing negative stereotypes and render

the positive agency of women and young people more visible,

doing justice to the multitude of roles they can play – so that one

day we might close our eyes and think about war as something

that women and men, young and old together are able to prevent.

References and Further Reading

Raewyn W. Connell (2005). Masculinities. (2nd edition.) Berkeley: University of

California Press.

Diana Francis (2004). Culture, Power Asymmetries and Gender in Conflict Transformation,

in: Alex Austin et al. (eds.). Transforming Ethnopolitical Conflict. The

ong>Berghofong> Handbook. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag, 91–107.

Stina Maria Lundström and Shadia Marhaban (2016). Challenges and Opportunities

for Female Combatants’ Post-war Community Leadership: Lessons Learnt

from Aceh and Mindanao. Workshop Report. Berlin: ong>Berghofong> Foundation.

Mir Mubashir and Irena Grizelj (2018). The Youth Space of Dialogue and Mediation.

An Exploration. Berlin: ong>Berghofong> Foundation.

Marie O’Reilly (2015). Why Women? Inclusive Security and Peaceful Societies.

Inclusive Security Report, October 2015.

Cordula Reimann (2002). “All You Need Is Love” ... and What About Gender?

Engendering Burton’s Human Needs Theory. Working Paper 10. Bradford:

University of Bradford.

UNFPA (2015) State of World Population 2015. Shelter from the Storm. A Transformative

Agenda for Women and Girls in a Crisis-prone World. United

Nations Population Fund.


Gender and Youth: Changing Perspective

Online Resources

International Civil Society Action Network [ICAN] (2018), The Better Peace Tool

(2nd edition). http://www.icanpeacework.org/our-work/better-peaceinitiative/.

Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security (2018), https://www.youth4peace.


Refugee Law Project “Gender Against Men” (Film, 2008), https://www.youtube.


UN 2015 - Statistics on Youth in Armed Conflict, http://www.un.org/youthenvoy/


Women Waging Peace Initiative, https://www.inclusivesecurity.org/experts/

World Health Organization (2018), http://www.who.int/gender-equity-rights/



Inclusivity and Participation: Working Together

13 Inclusivity and Participation:

Working Together

Stina Lundström and Damjan Denkovski

“At this crucial time in our lives (….) I don’t think you can help but

be involved.”

Nina Simone

Inclusivity and participation have been steadily gaining traction

as “buzzwords” within the peacebuilding community. But what

might inclusive and participatory processes look like in practice

in deeply divided and war-torn societies when trust is low and

competition for power is high? What are the options for meaningful

inclusivity and participation when there are major obstacles

to working together but, at the same time, broad agreement is indispensable

to avoid a relapse into violence? Different, context-


Inclusivity and Participation: Working Together

INCLUSIVITY | the degree of access to important decision-making

areas for all levels and sectors of state and society.

PARTICIPATION | involves indirect or direct active engagement by

either a group or an individual in a process beyond norms and

principles. Both are considered crucial in peacebuilding in order

to increase a sense of ownership and responsibility, and alleviate

social grievances of exclusion and marginalisation of groups.

specific models will be needed when negotiating ceasefires and

when conducting National Dialogues (→ Breaking Deadlocks). It

is helpful for the debate to disentangle the key concepts, challenges,

opportunities and potential limitations of inclusivity and

participation at different stages in peace processes. In the following,

we also offer some reflections on which elements might

facilitate the creation of participatory and inclusive peace processes

beyond norms and principles.

On terminology …

Inclusivity and participation are two keywords that are often

lumped together in one sentence, or used interchangeably. Although

closely related, there is a difference in nuance between

the two. Broadly defined, inclusivity in peace processes refers

to the degree of access to important decision-making areas for

all levels and sectors of state and society. Inclusivity is thus a

principle or a norm that can be streamlined into a process and

acted on. Participation, on the other hand, goes beyond norms

and principles and involves indirect or direct active engagement

by either a group or an individual in a process.


Inclusivity and Participation: Working Together

Inclusivity and participation: principles and practices

There are two axes along which inclusivity and participation in

peace processes can be “measured”. Horizontal inclusivity refers

to the degree to which a process is inclusive towards main power

holders or elites in a society. Vertical inclusivity, on the other

hand, refers to the degree to which various sectors and segments

of society are included (e. g. marginalised groups such as women,

youth, and ethnic and religious minorities). The degree of horizontal

and vertical inclusivity can, among other things, be an indicator

for the level of local ownership in a peace process.

That being said, inclusivity is and always will be understood and

defined differently in different contexts and cultures and by different

actors within the same context. In some contexts, merely

to consult youth groups during peace negotiations can be seen

as inclusive and participatory. In other contexts, anything other

than a 50 per cent gender quota at the main negotiating table

can be seen as exclusionary and non-participatory. Defining

the scope and depth of inclusivity also depends on reconciling

different views on what the conflict is about, who the relevant

stakeholders are, and who may be potential spoilers. Often,

some hold (or claim) the power to decide who has the right to be

included and to participate, while others have to actively fight for

their right to be included or to participate. Inclusivity and participation

in peace processes, in other words, are often political

(and politicised) and raise a host of questions around power (→

Empowerment and Ownership).

Coming to a broad agreement on what inclusivity and participation

are and how they can be practised in a given peace process

is thus an issue in itself that often needs specific attention at the

start of a process, especially from international actors who can

easily fall into the trap of oversimplifying and misunderstanding

conflict and stakeholder dynamics. Consequently, inclusivity

and participation are not only a question of going beyond norms

and principles; they also involve moving beyond mere “box-ticking”

and simple headcounts of representatives.


Inclusivity and Participation: Working Together

Process and outcome inclusivity

Process inclusivity

Outcome inclusivity




Graph by: Christoph Lang

Figure 5, source: Dudouet/Lundström 2016

What are the different forms of inclusivity and participation?

Armed conflicts tend to reflect deep structural patterns of (real

or perceived) social, political or cultural exclusion. Collective

mobilisation in violent rebellion often results from shared grievances

among marginalised social and political actors demanding

greater participation and inclusivity in social, political and

cultural arenas (→ Addressing Social Grievances). It is therefore

imperative that a peace process brings about a more inclusive

state and society beyond a negotiated peace agreement, as continued

political, social and cultural exclusion is often fertile

ground for violence relapse and re-mobilisation.

In general, inclusivity can be enacted in three different arenas in

two ways. The arenas are negotiation arenas (such as ceasefire

negotiations, peace agreement negotiations, National Dialogues

and Constituent Assemblies), codification arenas (such as peace

agreements, constitutional reform, bill of rights, legal reforms),

and materialisation arenas (such as reformed institutions, land

reforms, political party reforms and policy implementation).


Inclusivity and Participation: Working Together

The first way is process inclusivity, which describes the extent to

which a peacemaking or peacebuilding forum such as ceasefire

or peace negotiations is inclusive not only to the horizontal elite,

but also to the vertical makeup of society. The second is outcome

inclusivity, which describes the levels of responsiveness and representativeness

of a peace agreement, new constitution or institution

to all levels and sectors of society.

What are the possible formulas for inclusivity and


There are different models that can be used for participation at

different levels of peacemaking and peacebuilding. Some models

include incremental inclusivity, which denotes a step-by-step

process where the ceasefire might be negotiated by a small circle

of actors due to security and/or trust constraints, with the level

of inclusivity and participation increasing when, for example,

a peace agreement or new constitution is being negotiated and

implemented. A second model is thematic multi-arena inclusivity,

where, for example, land reform might be negotiated at the main

(semi-exclusionary) table, but simultaneously more inclusively

organised roundtables identify broader needs and grievances, or

broader cross-sectoral consensus is built by civil society outside

of the formal negotiations. A third model is parallel consultation

forums with built-in mechanisms, where different channels are

utilised to influence the formal negotiations. These parallel forums

can include consultation forums, public surveys to show

the people’s will on a particular matter, or petitions. These forums

are intended to feed directly into the formal negotiation

forum, to the mediators, or to the negotiators. The last model

is informal deadlock-breaking mechanisms within inclusive formal

arenas, such as smaller circles of trust-building processes

between polarised actors within wider National Dialogues and

Constitution Assembly negotiations (e. g. establishing deadlockbreaking

committees within the Yemeni National Dialogue process,

see → Breaking Deadlocks).


Inclusivity and Participation: Working Together

Challenges and ways forward

Process inclusivity and participation come with ingrained tensions,

obstacles and challenges. Some issues often faced in

peace processes are: the dilemma between inclusivity and efficiency,

cosmetic participation (box-ticking) as opposed to

meaningful participation, and deliberate refusal of some actors

to participate; some may even attempt to spoil the process. The

ong>Berghofong> Foundation has been engaged in proposing ways of resolving

the inclusivity-efficiency dilemma through its research

project on post-war inclusive political settlements. In some contexts,

the subjective perception that non-elite interests are being

considered may be sufficient; it may even be more important

than the objective inclusion of stakeholders in the process itself.

In others, including one non-state armed group may lead to increased

violence by non-participating groups. Alternatively, it

may demonstrate the benefits of a negotiated settlement, thus

challenging the rationale for violence.

Apart from overcoming process-oriented challenges, there may

be a lack of capacity or funds to support outcome inclusivity, for

example in implementation of peace agreements or state reform.

There may also be a lack of genuine political and social

will to meaningfully transform the root causes of conflict; agreed

mechanisms and/or procedures for implementation may also be

absent or could not be agreed upon.

International actors should consider the long-term impact of

efforts to support peace processes or provide development aid,

both of which entail decisions on inclusivity vs efficiency and

elite consensus vs broader buy in and (often in conjunction with

other actors’ programming) can inadvertently but significantly

influence the power balance and overall direction of the process.

There is no single blueprint for addressing the dilemmas and

challenges regarding inclusivity and participation in peace processes.

Planning and sequencing mechanisms for inclusivity is

key, and various models may be needed at different stages of

the process. Process design should therefore be based on a solid


Inclusivity and Participation: Working Together

understanding of the context and conflict dynamics, and the process

itself should remain flexible enough to adapt to changes in

local conditions.

References and Further Reading

Clare Castillejo (2014). Promoting Inclusion in Political Settlements: A Priority for

International Actors? Oslo: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre.

Véronique Dudouet & Stina Lundström (2016). Post-war Political Settlements:

From Participatory Transition Processes to Inclusive State-building and Governance.

Research Report. Berlin: ong>Berghofong> Foundation.

Marike Blunk et al. (2017). National Dialogue Handbook: A Guide for Practitioners.

Berlin: ong>Berghofong> Foundation.

Katrin Planta (2015). Broadening and Deepening Participation in Peace Negotiations:

A Strategic Framework. Berlin: ong>Berghofong> Foundation.

Online Resources

Political Settlement Research Programme, http://www.politicalsettlements.org/


Inclusive Peace and Transition Initiative, http://www.inclusivepeace.org/

Inclusive Security, https://www.inclusivesecurity.org/

Project: Inclusive Political Settlements, https://www.berghof-foundation.org/



Learning Together: Monitoring, Evaluating, Reflecting

14 Learning Together:

Monitoring, Evaluating,


Barbara Unger and Beatrix Austin

“We are not what we know but what we are willing to learn.”

Mary Catherine Bateson

Why reflect when there is so much to do? In complex settings,

such as a protracted conflict, we as practitioners trying to improve

the situation must reduce complexity and identify key

dynamics. This is challenging, and we often find in hindsight

that we could have done better. Our own ability to adapt to the

challenges we face is therefore of key importance. One way is to

learn from what we did in the past and how well that worked,


Learning Together: Monitoring, Evaluating, Reflecting

MONITORING | the regular examination of and reflection on the

“gap” between the expected outcome of an intervention and the

actual outcome, with activities and agendas being adapted on

the basis of this “incremental learning”.

EVALUATION | the investigation of the quality, efficiency and relevance

of a course of action, measuring its outcomes and impact

against a theory of change.

LEARNING | the process of acquiring new, or modifying existing,

knowledge, behaviours, skills, values, or preferences.

and by observing current activities and assessing their scope for

improvement. Other ways might be more transformative, such as

scenario and futures work or a review of organisational theories

of change and assumptions of success.

For individuals and organisations working on conflict and peace,

the failure to reflect and learn could lead to errors being repeated

and opportunities being ignored. Learning relates to us as persons,

at the individual level, and as an organisation. It calls for

open-mindedness and a readiness for change, and requires time,

structures, tools and methods.

“M & E” – monitoring and evaluation – is an essential element of

reflection and learning processes and is intrinsic to project management

in conflict transformation.

Monitoring refers to the regular examination of and reflection on

the “gap” between the expected outcome of an intervention and

the actual outcome, with activities and agendas being adapted

on the basis of this “incremental learning”. It therefore largely

depends on explicit objectives and clear plans showing how they

are to be accomplished and reviewed. In conflict settings, projects

and programmes must also include an environmental monitoring

component to detect any negative impacts of the project


Learning Together: Monitoring, Evaluating, Reflecting

on the context, as well as any risks the conflict setting may pose

to the project. A conflict-sensitive monitoring system, as well as

a conflict transformation monitoring system, would therefore

need indicators for the effects, both intended and unintended,

and changing risks.

Evaluation is complementary to continuous project monitoring

and takes place at various intervals after the implementation of a

project or project component. It may be internal (self-evaluation)

or external (evaluation by others combined with relevant feedback

from / to stakeholders). Often, a mixture of the two is used.

Evaluation can be categorised by the desired aims, interaction

between evaluator and team (internal, external, joint), or focus/

timing. Formative evaluations look at progress to date and recommend

improvements, while summative evaluations measure

overall achievement, mostly after an intervention. Impact evaluations

take place sometime after the intervention and focus on

the changes the project produced in the conflict context.

Monitoring and evaluation: results chains and theories

of change

Reflection, and especially monitoring and evaluation, relies on

clarity. Monitoring and evaluation is aided when assumptions

and hypotheses are identified in the planning phase of a project

and clearly stated in documents, for example as results chains

and indicators. Another popular method is the use of explicit

theories of change. This quest for clarity is even more important

in polarised settings, where shared understandings cannot be

assumed: communication must cross the divides of culture, language

and distance.

This leads to a constant questioning of self and partners: do we

have a shared understanding of our goals and how we hope to

reach them? How helpful explicit hypotheses are for better conflict

transformation can be illustrated by the ong>Berghofong> Foundation’s

work on the education system in Bolivia. There, we for-


Learning Together: Monitoring, Evaluating, Reflecting

mulated the following results chain: an activity (e. g. a problemsolving

workshop) facilitates outputs (the ability to understand

multiple perspectives), which in turn result in outcomes (a

change in the way people relate to one another). In the long run,

this develops more far-reaching impact (such as a reduction in

violence in a polarised community).

Everyone’s perception of reality is limited. That being the case, it

is essential to assess the accuracy of any linear hypothesis: “action

A results in outcome B”. We must be open to the possibility

that other important factors have been missed or ignored. While

working in Bolivia, it became clear to the project team that it was

necessary to maintain contact with the Ministry of Education,

even after the integration of the Peace Culture programme in the

Constitution and sectoral law, in order to monitor how the Ministry

intended to anchor Peace Culture in its own regulations.

Criteria for assessing activities in conflict transformation and

peacebuilding have been set out by the Development Assistance

Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and

Development (OECD-DAC). According to these criteria, it is essential

to ask “are we doing it / did we do it right?” and to look

at efficiency (balancing means and ends) and effectiveness (“did

we reach the objectives”?) We should also consider whether the

changes effected are likely to be sustainable. An important indicator

of success is the assessed impact of the project, i. e. whether

the project contributes to goals beyond its sphere of influence.

Coherence refers to whether the intervention contributes to or

counteracts other interventions. Moreover, it is important that an

organisation reflects on the relevance of any activity (“did we do

the right thing?”) Reflection on the relevance of an intervention

in any given context goes beyond common reflective practice

and is thus absent from many monitoring frameworks. There is

a danger, particularly in the field of conflict transformation, that

practitioners implement projects or programmes, which, despite

being exciting, interesting and seemingly conducive to peace,

lack the organisational structure or coherence with other pro-


Learning Together: Monitoring, Evaluating, Reflecting

jects required for genuine contextual change beyond a limited

number of participants.

Beyond monitoring and evaluation: loops of reflection

and learning

Learning and change can be based on various levels of reflection.

The easiest and most common one is changing actions: we can

then try to change the input to get another result. But, and this is

the second level, maybe things are not so linear, and our assumptions

have been flawed? And, more complex still, how can we as

a team or organisation overcome such a blind spot in the future?

The deepest level of reflection, known as “transformational learning”,

is aimed at changing underlying patterns and designing new

learning processes. Here, the interest centres less on what the field

still has to learn with regard to content – “what to do” – and more

on how to create the best possible conditions to learn on different

levels and adjust actions accordingly, which is especially important

in the field of peacebuilding and conflict transformation. This

“learning about learning” is crucial, since even the best efforts at

transformative peace work may be ineffective if we fail to learn the

lessons available to us. Reflection should cover all elements, such

as access, language skills, funding sources, personnel and effective

organisational structures: a successful combination of all of

these is necessary for effective and sustainable change.

Continuing to improve

One main challenge in practice is that the logic of responding

quickly in an ever-changing environment, such as intervening

in a violent conflict, is not conducive to simultaneous reflection.

It seems that sometimes there needs to be an impulse from the

outside, from a person or group specifically tasked with prompting

reflection, in order to create the required space in a hectic

schedule, and to encourage a shift of emphasis from the practical

to the reflective.


Learning Together: Monitoring, Evaluating, Reflecting

Learning in loops


a project



expected out comes


single loop learning

double loop learning

triple loop learning

Figure 6, source: ong>Berghofong> Foundation, Barbara Unger

An organisational culture conducive to reflection and learning, in

the peacebuilding field and elsewhere, entails the allocation of

specific time slots, incentives, mechanisms and responsibilities

to reflective practice, whilst also recognising the value of ad hoc

meetings, even those as informal as a cup of tea with colleagues

or an after-work ride home with the project partner. Organisations

can benefit greatly from events outside the usual routine,


Learning Together: Monitoring, Evaluating, Reflecting



of project


expected impact




for next time

changing input


= incremental learning

are we

doing things




goals, assumtions

are we


the right things?


= second order learning


blind spots

= learning to learn

how do we

decide what is



Graph by: Christoph Lang

such as retreats or visits from headquarters or external evaluators.

Within the field of conflict transformation, more methods

of developing an internalised culture of reflection and learning

(about failures and successes) must be identified. It goes without

saying that the commitment of the leadership in any setting is

vital to this development.


Learning Together: Monitoring, Evaluating, Reflecting

References and Further Reading

Chris Argyris and Donald A. Schoen (1978). Organizational Learning: A Theory of

Action Perspective. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

Mille Bojer (2018). Transformative Scenarios Process: How stories of the future

help to transform conflict in the present. In ong>Berghofong> Handbook for Conflict

Transformation, online edition.

Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey (2009). Immunity to Change. How to Overcome It

and Unlock the Potential in Yourself and Your Organization. Cambridge, MA:

Harvard Business Press.

OECD (2012). Evaluating Peacebuilding Activities in Settings of Conflict and Fragility:

Improving Learning for Results. DAC Guidelines and References Series.

Paris: OECD.

Cheyanne Scharbatke-Church (2011). Evaluating Peacebuilding – Not Yet All It

Could Be, in: Beatrix Austin et al. (eds.). Advancing Conflict Transformation.

The ong>Berghofong> Handbook II. Opladen/Farmington Hills: Barbara Budrich

Publishers, 459–482.

Online Resources

CDA Collaborative Learning Projects, with seminal work on Reflecting on Peace

Practice and Peacebuilding Effectiveness, https://www.cdacollaborative.org/


FriEnt (2014). How do I know? Strategic Planning, Learning and Evaluation

for Peacebuilding. Bonn: FriEnt. https://www.frient.de/publikationen/

dokument/?tx_ggfilelibrary_pi1 %5Bfile %5D=202&tx_ggfilelibrary_

pi1 %5Baction %5D=download&cHash=840af8f879106850b23139334


Ulrike Hopp and Barbara Unger (2008). Time to Learn: Expanding Organisational

Capacities in Conflict Settings. In: Peacebuilding at a Crossroads? Dilemmas

and Paths for Another Generation. Edited by Martina Fischer and Beatrix

Schmelzle. ong>Berghofong> Handbook Dialogue Series No. 7. Berlin: ong>Berghofong>

Research Center for Constructive Conflict Management, https://image.



ifa/zivik (2014). Monitoring of effects (movie): Effects-oriented Planning and

Implementation of Projects Working to Promote Peace – A Manual. Second

edition. Berlin: ifa/zivik. https://www.ifa.de/fileadmin/pdf/zivik/movie_


Patricia Rogers (2014). Theory of Change. Methodological Issue Briefs: Impact

Evaluation No. 2. UNICEF. http://devinfolive.info/impact_evaluation/img/

downloads/Theory_of_Change_ENG.pdf (including webinar at https://www.



Mediation and Mediation Support

15 Mediation and Mediation


Luxshi Vimalarajah and Mir Mubashir

“Start from where the conflict parties are, not where the third

party wants them to be.”

Oliver Ramsbotham

In 2016, “more countries experienced violent conflict than at any

time in nearly 30 years“ (World Bank Group and United Nations

2018, iii, quoting UCDP 2017). Today’s conflicts are complex, multifaceted

and fragmented. They often require a mixture of tools and

approaches to manage and resolve them in a sustainable manner.

Increasingly, the international trend seems to be moving in the direction

of repressive or violent responses to conflict. The statistical


Mediation and Mediation Support

MEDIATION (SUPPORT) | the invited assistance of a third party

to help organise the flow of communication and to support the

creation of options between conflict and negotiation partners, in

short a type of “assisted negotiation”.

evidence, however, shows that military intervention in conflicts

that are often driven by unmet ethnic, social, economic or political

grievances does not contribute to the resolution of conflicts. On

the contrary, such interventions exacerbate them and even create

new fault-lines and grievances (→ Addressing Social Grievances).

In this context, non-violent third-party-assisted peacemaking

tools become all the more important. Alongside dialogue (facilitation),

mediation and mediation support have become essential

pillars in the gamut of peacemaking tools. The main difference

between negotiation and mediation lies in the role of the

third party. The negotiation process can be broadly defined as

one in which the conflict parties engage with each other to reach

Continuum of conflict management approaches

Informal decision-making by conflict parties




Conflict avoidance

Negotiation Mediation Arbitration

Figure 7, source: Christopher Moore, 2003


Mediation and Mediation Support

an agreement mostly without the assistance of a third party (although

some backchannel facilitation my take place, see → Facilitating

Dialogue and Negotiation). The central defining feature of

a mediation process is the presence of a third-party mediator to

organise the flow of communication. This role may also be taken

by insider mediators.

Although mediation is defined in a variety of ways, in essence

all of the definitions agree on a few core fundamentals: the voluntary

and confidential nature of the process, the impartiality

of the mediator, and that the solutions are generated by the

parties themselves, rather than being imposed by the mediator.

Mediation, in its essence, can therefore be defined as assisted


Actors and styles

As the number of conflicts increases, so too does the number of

third-party mediation actors involved in the international field:

traditional peacemakers such as the UN, single states, regional

organisations, non-governmental organisations and individuals

Legal (public)




Extralegal coerced decision-making

Adjudication Non-violent directive action Violence

Increased coercion and likelihood of win-lose outcome

Graph by: Christoph Lang


Mediation and Mediation Support

(eminent persons) all play a role in mediating conflict with varying

degrees of success.

These actors may employ different styles of mediation: formulative,

facilitative or directive/power-based mediation, and transformative

mediation. In reality, mediation processes exhibit

features of all of these different styles in one single mediation

process in order to be more effective.

In formulative mediation processes, the mediator acts as a

formulator of ideas, devising and proposing new solutions to the


The facilitative style of mediation focuses on the relationship

between the parties; here, the aim is to increase mutual understanding

between the parties in order to help them reach a mutually

acceptable agreement.

State-based mediators usually resort to power-based mediation

where the mediator uses his/her leverage and power to influence

the negotiation process, its content and its outcomes. A

common approach in such processes is to use “carrots and sticks”

to induce parties to pursue a specific trajectory.

Transformative mediation is aimed at empowering conflict

parties to recognise each other’s needs, interests, values and

points of view, so that their relationships may be transformed

during the mediation process. It supports the parties in determining

the direction of their own process: they structure both

the process and the outcome of mediation, and the mediator follows

their lead.

A point of contention for all is the level of multipartiality, impartiality

or neutrality a mediator must possess. We find in our practice

at the ong>Berghofong> Foundation that multipartiality is a beneficial

stance in working with conflict parties.

Insider mediators

Rootedness/embeddedness in the conflict context give insider

mediators heightened credibility and legitimacy in the eyes of


Mediation and Mediation Support

many. Additionally, the influence and authority that insider mediators

bring to a process may provide them access to conflict actors

who would be unavailable to others (e. g. radical or “hard to reach

actors”). Insider mediators are affiliated to one or the other conflict

party either by ethnicity or by some other link, and therefore

cannot be expected to be impartial or neutral, yet are considered

fair and trustworthy by the conflict parties. Insiders are intrinsic

to the conflict context, i.e. they are part of the social fabric of the

conflict. Their lives are directly affected by it. They may have a

stake in the conflict but will not be swayed by it, and prefer nonviolent

means of addressing the conflict. They draw on tradition,

religion, spirituality and also secularism, pluralism or multiculturalism

to mediate conflicts. The legitimacy of insider mediators,

depending on the dynamics of the conflict context, may, however,

be in constant flux and thus call for outsider involvement. In traditional,

patriarchal societies, certain insider mediators may also

be less inclusive in their mediation processes.

In practice, the distinction between mediation, negotiation and

National Dialogues is fluid. National Dialogues may at times

involve bi/multiparty negotiations and third-party mediation

where there is a political deadlock or the breakdown of dialogue.

Concerns to protect national sovereignty and preserve national

ownership of the processes make insider mediators the ideal

bridge-builders and go-betweens to convene the process, with

external actors present in a purely supporting role.

External assistance

External actors are best suited in their function as mediation

support actors. Mediation support covers a range of activities,

from assistance to professionalisation of the mediation practice.

Broadly speaking, mediation support services include:

1. Technical and operational support for peace processes (e. g.

advice on thematic issues, conflict analysis support, technical

process design questions, and mediation strategy development);


Mediation and Mediation Support

2. Capacity-building (e. g. coaching for mediators, training for

mediation teams and conflict parties on negotiation/dialogue

skills and topics);

3. Research and knowledge management (e. g. knowledge products

such as fact sheets, manuals, handbooks on process design

options, legality and wording of contracts and agreements, developing

a repository of knowledge on lessons learned and good


For example …

The ong>Berghofong> Foundation assists the citizens of HirShabelle

State in Somalia to build or restore constructive relationships

with each other. We take the knowledge base and experience

present in the communities and add practical skills in mediation

and dialogue facilitation through training and joint learning

with important stakeholders and chosen multipliers.

The bulk of the ong>Berghofong> Foundation’s work in the area of mediation

is related to mediation support.

The practice of mediation has come a long way since the 1960s

and 70s from a craft mastered by a few senior special envoys

and (former) heads of state. Specialised mediation units now

exist within regional organisations, foreign ministries and nongovernmental

organisations. This professionalisation of the

field has led to the belief that formal mediation processes can be

managed well if the mediators have the technical capacity (such

as communication microskills, for example asking meaningful

questions, conflict analysis expertise and knowledge of process

design) to steer the process. Often the human dimension – empathy,

intuition, creativity, the ability to build trust, cultural sensitivity,

and humanity – is undervalued (→ Averting Humiliation).

Yet these intangible factors sometimes determine the success or


Mediation and Mediation Support

failure of a mediation process. In the end, both the science and

the art of mediation matter.

While mediation is definitely the more cost-effective way to resolve

conflicts when compared to military intervention, it is

also true that many peace agreements collapse during the early

stages. Further research is needed to determine the effectiveness

of mediation alongside other more coercive peacemaking efforts

such as the use of sanctions, threats of war crimes prosecution

or the use of military force. We have to ask which styles of mediation,

and in combination with which other measures, are most

effective. There is currently little guidance on how to decide the

balance between political sensitivity, inclusivity and transparency;

moreover, the extent to which mediators can be held accountable

for such decisions and the consequences that ensue

from them is still unclear.

Questions related to when mediation is appropriate, what the

limitations of mediation are, and how to assess the effectiveness

of mediation, have yet to be answered. Today’s multi-layered

and complex conflicts need multi-layered complex third-party

responses that draw on the experience, strengths and added

value of the various mediation actors on each of the tracks. In

some contexts, conflicts have continued despite many decades

of peacemaking attempts (Israel-Palestine, Cyprus, etc.)

or have proven resilient to any settlement. Mediation, National

Dialogues and mediation support are no silver bullets for solving

conflict in isolation but need to be complemented by other

tools and approaches to nurture the culture of dialogue, trust and

confidence-building among the belligerents. This requires longterm

commitment, resources, experience, innovative thinking

and persistence by mediators and those who support the process.


Mediation and Mediation Support

References and Further Reading

Paul Dziatkowiec (2017). The Inside Story: The Impact of Insider Mediators on

Modern Peacemaking. Geneva: Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue.

Joseph P. Folger, R. A.B. Bush & D. Della Noce (eds.) (2010). Transformative Mediation:

A Sourcebook — Resources for Conflict Intervention Practitioners and

Programs. Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation and Association

for Conflict Resolution.

Stine Lehmann-Larsen (2014). Effectively Supporting Mediation – Developments,

Challenges and Requirements. Oslo Forum Papers N°003.

Christina Stenner (2017). The Institutionalization of Mediation Support: Are Mediation

Support Entities there yet? Berlin: ong>Berghofong> Foundation.

United Nations and World Bank (2018). Pathways for Peace: Inclusive Approaches

to Preventing Violent Conflict. Executive Summary. Washington, DC: World


Online Resources

ong>Berghofong> Foundation, Somalia Project, https://www.berghof-foundation.org/nc/


ong>Berghofong> Foundation, Featured Topic: Multipartiality, https://www.berghoffoundation.org/nc/en/featured-topics/multipartiality/

Uppsala Conflict Data Program (2017). UCDP Conflict Encyclopaedia. Uppsala

University. www.ucdp.uu.se


Preventing Violence

16 Preventing Violence

Astrid Fischer and Engjellushe Morina

“The more we sweat in peace, the less we bleed in war.”

Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit

Violence prevention has become an integral element of almost

every peacebuilding document, placing it high on the international

agenda. In the context of conflict transformation, violence

includes much more than the use of physical force by persons

to commit destructive acts against others’ physical or psychological

integrity or property. Structural conditions such as unjust

and oppressive political systems, social inequality or malnutrition,

as well as their cultural or ideological justifications, are further,

often overlooked, major sources of violence and war (see

also → Addressing Social Grievances). Since violence is caused

by multiple factors, prevention measures should not focus


Preventing Violence

VIOLENCE PREVENTION | acknowledges the issues at stake in

conflict, yet implements short-term to long-term measures offering

alternatives to direct, structural and cultural violence and limiting

the use of force, often in places seen as particularly vulnerable.

Conflict transformation and peacebuilding strive to integrate

a preventative mindset already in the early stages of conflicts

and highlight the important role of educating for non-violence.

merely on the perpetrator and the victim of violence but involve

the whole environment affecting them – the relevant causes and

drivers, the systemic connections as well as the sometimes hidden


Dimensions of violence prevention: an array of approaches

Conflict may be a necessary – even formative – part of human existence,

but we can avoid conflict turning into violence. With violence

understood in a broad sense, the task of violence prevention

necessarily becomes multi-faceted, involving many fields

and actors. While prevention should ideally be undertaken proactively

and early on, attention often only focuses on a conflict

after violence has occurred. For example, peacebuilding efforts

in post-war settings often prioritise prevention, in order to counter

or pre-empt a renewed outbreak of fighting, or to safeguard

sensitive de-escalation processes during transition phases. Typical

tools and methods include early warning, confidence- and

security-building measures, preventive diplomacy and peacekeeping,

and peace education.

The prevention of violence is a key responsibility of any nation-state,

for it bears the exclusive right to the legitimate use

of force within its borders. It is the responsibility of states and

their authorities to provide all necessary legislation, institutions

and strategies to prevent violent attacks on any of their citizens.


Preventing Violence

States also need to deal with root causes of violence (such as discrimination

and other grievances). However, state action alone

is rarely enough. Often, a state’s citizens or (international) social

movements must become active in raising public awareness

and advocating a need for change. One example is the anti-gun

protests after the Florida school massacre in 2018: #Neveragain,

#Onemillionmarch. State authorities remain slow to act on more

restrictive gun laws in the US, however.

Preventing direct violence (domestic and international)

(Legitimate) law enforcement describes the basic role, usually

of police and other security personnel, in preventing (further)

violence. Yet this strand of prevention carries a risk of excessively

heavy-handed tactics and responses, especially in repressive regimes,

which counter-productively may cause further grievances

and even violence. In every case, a community needs to strike a

balance between its need for security and the rights of its citizens.

Curbing the means of violence: Research suggests that more

guns do not contribute to more security and peace, but may lead

to more fatal incidents and increase the risks of violent conflict.

Locally, there are movements to restrict private gun use. Nationally,

there are campaigns aiming to reduce the availability of

small arms. Globally, there are efforts to strengthen inter national

organisations and regimes to prevent further arms races, proliferation

and weapons transfers to conflict zones.

Background knowledge …

Prevention happens at different stages. Primary violence or conflict

prevention targets anybody, whereas secondary prevention

strategies focus on conflict and violence potential within a particular

group or individual. Tertiary prevention targets people

who are radicalised or who have been involved in violent actions

(→ Working on Conflict Dynamics).


Preventing Violence

Strengthening legislation: Most acts of violence are crimes

that are liable to prosecution as retribution and deterrence.

Much progress has been made under domestic and international

framework conventions (e. g. concerning children’s rights, increasing

criminalisation of sexual violence, and in the burgeoning

area of → Dealing with the Past and Transitional Justice). Yet

many acts of violence are still legal under international humanitarian

law (e. g. the killing of combatants) and the protection of

civilians in modern warfare remains inadequate.

Preventing structural and cultural violence

Beyond dealing with the symptoms, it is important to address

the root causes that may lead to violent behaviour. Improving

socio-economic conditions, fostering human rights and partici-

For example …

In recent years, an additional area of violence prevention has

been discussed widely: preventing violent extremism. Violent

extremism describes a current form of seemingly uncompromising

political violence. Although it is today usually associated

with certain religious groups, it is by no means confined to one

group, religion or region, and it is certainly not new. Those now

justifying violence ‘in the name of …’ as legitimate action see

themselves as oppressed by structural/cultural violence (e. g.

military interventions, political-cultural-economic dominance

of ‘the West’ or ‘the impertinence’ of liberal societies). In that

ideological rhetoric, fighting ‘evil’ without compromise is the

only way, even if this may involve brutal acts against civilians. In

several research projects, teams at the ong>Berghofong> Foundation are

currently exploring whether and how (more) effective prevention

of violent extremism can be achieved by focusing on local experiences

and group processes of mobilisation and demobilisation

(see also → Working on Conflict Dynamics).


Preventing Violence

pation, development and livelihood are the baseline for violence

prevention (→ Fostering Human Security). However, attitudes

and values also need to change.

Diminishing acceptance of violence and promoting a ‘culture of

peace’: In many settings, violence is encouraged by the silence

of the majority or unquestioned norms. For example, ‘school

yard violence’, such as bullying, is often present in a social setting

where perpetrators feel unchallenged in inflicting harm on

someone they consider weaker and not worthy of being part of

a core group. Besides the perpetrator(s) and a victim, there are

other pupils and maybe even teachers who do not intervene. Due

to their behaviour, their lack of action, the situation may continue.

In such a setting, peace education can be a relevant form

of prevention, especially if raising awareness is combined with

pointing out alternative actions.

Promoting ‘good examples’ of nonviolent action: On an individual

and collective level, highlighting alternative ways of protest

and resistance for change is essential (there are many more

examples than Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King). “Peace

Counts on Tour”, for instance, is an exhibition supported by the

ong>Berghofong> Foundation in cooperation with media reporters who go

to conflict zones to highlight the work of successful contemporary

peacebuilders. The pictures and stories collected are used

to spread positive examples or models of how to build peace and

prevent or counteract violence locally.

Resilience and mobilisation against the ‘logic of violence’:

In an environment of escalating conflict, there may be a fierce

struggle between violence-promoting ‘extremists’ and those insisting

on peaceful strategies. However, the logic of violent struggle

can also be challenged from within a community. As violent

groups often claim to act on behalf of marginalised communities,

they rely on the acceptance of their actions by (at least sections

of) their community. The dissolution of the Basque ETA and its

disarmament by civil society actors in 2017 show that groups that


Preventing Violence

used to rely on violent tactics may eventually adapt their strategy

due to a loss of public support, moving instead to non-violent

action. The #MeToo movement highlights another area in which

social mobilisation openly challenged long-ingrained patterns of

(socially tolerated) sexual violence.

Strengthening norms and institutions

Another important aim for successful prevention of violence is to

strengthen norms, mobilise political support for prevention and

develop institutional capacities.

Operationalising norms: Public debate influences the perception

of norms, which may change over time. Public awareness of

sexual violence, for example, has increased tremendously over

recent years. While rape has been used as a weapon and war tactic

for centuries, UN Resolution 1820, codifying a normative shift,

finally recognised this practice as a war crime in 2016.

Developing structures and capacities: Effective structures of

violence prevention have to involve all actors (potential perpetrators,

victims and bystanders), persons of influence (informal

or formal) and relevant institutions. As violence is often the result

of dysfunctional power relations, prevention strategies may

first have to improve the flexibility of the (political) system so it

is more able to cope with demands and grievances and accommodate

change. In a war-torn society, this may involve political

reforms to enhance power sharing, participation and inclusion

(→ Mediation and Mediation Support; → Participation and Inclusivity),

as well as initiating necessary social or economic reforms.

Violence prevention as a joint effort in need of mobilisation

In sum, prevention of violence is a political responsibility as well

as a social challenge. Rules and regulations can help to set normative

frameworks and create pressure, but social mobilisation

remains necessary to control the use of power, whether in political,

cultural or social settings. The prevention of violence depends

on social awareness, capacity building, adoption of new


Preventing Violence

norms and attitudes, including incentivising non-violence from

an early age, and calling attention to system(at)ic violent abuse.

It also continues to depend on the willingness and capacity of

actors at all levels to close the gap between early warning and


References and Further Reading

Abbas Aroua (2018). Addressing Extremism and Violence: The Importance of

Terminology. Geneva: Cordoba Foundation.

Hans J. Giessmann, Janel Galvanek and Christine Seifert (2017). Curbing Violence:

Development, Application, and the Sustaining of National Capacities for

Conflict Prevention. Berlin: ong>Berghofong> Foundation.

GIZ (2018). Factsheet Prevenir Primero: Introducing a systemic approach to violence

prevention. Eschborn.

United Nations and World Bank (2018). Pathways for Peace: Inclusive Approaches

to Preventing Violent Conflict. Washington, DC: World Bank.

World Health Organization (2002). World Report on Violence and Health. Geneva:


Online Resources

Beatrix Austin & Hans J. Giessmann (eds.) (2018). Transformative Approaches to

Violent Extremism. ong>Berghofong> Handbook Dialogue Series No. 13. Berlin: ong>Berghofong>

Foundation. https://www.berghof-foundation.org/fileadmin/redaktion/



Basque Permanent Social Forum (2017). ETA’s disarmament in the context of

international DDR guidelines. Lessons learnt from an innovative Basque

scenario. Transitions Series No. 12. Berlin: ong>Berghofong> Foundation https://



“Preventing Crises, Preventing Atrocities”, Peace Lab Blog, 10 November 2016.



Providing Conflict-Sensitive Refugee Assistance

17 Providing Conflict-Sensitive

Refugee Assistance

Dagmar Nolden, Beatrix Austin and Julian Klauke

“We cannot live only for ourselves. … our actions run as causes,

and they come back to us as effects.”

Herman Melville

Imagine that in your hometown, several volunteers have organised

an afternoon event for refugees who have been arriving

from Afghanistan and Syria. The volunteers have been baking all

morning, decorating the assembly room of the Catholic Church

and are getting excited about introducing the new arrivals to

their traditions. One of them has even made a poster inviting the

refugees to the afternoon with the address and exact time in German

– this has been put up in the gym where most of the re fugees


Providing Conflict-Sensitive Refugee Assistance

CONFLICT SENSITIVITY | the ability to understand the conflict

one is operating in, to understand the interaction between own

actions and the conflict, and to use this understanding to avoid

negative impacts and maximise positive impacts on the conflict.

REFUGEE | someone who has been forced to flee his or her country

because of persecution, war or violence.

are staying. The time comes, but only a few people slowly trickle

in. To the volunteers’ disappointment, the guests’ enthusiasm

remains rather low.

Does this sound familiar? It is a perfect example of a well-intended

initiative that did not turn out as expected. This is how we

could make it better: Together with the refugees, the volunteers

meet to discuss ideas of how together they could make the new

arrivals and the people in the town feel more connected. Jointly,

they decide to use the next sunny weekend for a get-together in

the park. Everyone can bring food or drinks typical of their home

country and tell each other one remarkable story about the place

they come from. An invitation in several languages will be put up

across town, in shops and at the gym.

Derived from daily practice of actual hands-on refugee assistance

in Germany, these two examples are almost of textbook character

when it comes to visualising the relevance of conflict sensitivity

in the context of displacement, migration and refugee assistance.

What is conflict sensitivity?

Conflict sensitivity is the ability, for example of an organisation to

understand the conflict it is operating in, and to understand the

interaction between its own operations and the conflict, and to

use this understanding to avoid negative impacts and maximise

positive impacts on the conflict. It requires a solid conflict analysis.


Providing Conflict-Sensitive Refugee Assistance

Conflict-sensitive approaches were originally developed for work

in conflict regions, yet are relevant to all activities relating to

conflict, including refugee assistance. Conflict-sensitive initiatives

ensure, for example, that they do not inadvertently create

new or increase existing socio-political tensions but strengthen

social cohesion. In situations where there is a high risk that wellintended

actions will result in misperceptions, frustrations and

might even reproduce or perpetuate discriminating structures –

which could in turn culminate in the use of violence – conflictsensitive

approaches can make a huge difference, as the example

at the beginning illustrates.

“Do no harm” is one of the best-known principles in this area

and has become a core tool for project planning, monitoring

and evaluation (e. g. CDA 2016 and others; see also → Learning

Together). It seeks to analyse how an intervention may be

implemented in a way that supports local communities in addressing

the underlying causes of conflict rather than exacerbating

the conflict. Conflict sensitivity approaches go beyond do no

harm. Today, governmental and nongovernmental actors alike

Conflict-sensitive refugee assistance as conflict

transformation and peacebuilding



Increasing violence

Direct, cultural, structural violence

Figure 8, source: ong>Berghofong> Foundation


Providing Conflict-Sensitive Refugee Assistance

increasingly recognise the need for conflict-sensitive approaches

to development, humanitarian assistance and peacebuilding to

strengthen the contextual understanding of actors and their settings.

Conflict sensitivity is now well-established in the fields of

education and journalism.

Nevertheless, conflict-sensitive approaches have yet to be incorporated

and mainstreamed beyond situations of fragility and

conflict despite their potential in other areas. A glance at the literature

suggests that the ong>Berghofong> Foundation is among the few

organisations that apply the concept to the field of professional

and voluntary refugee assistance in Germany.

How to apply conflict sensitivity to refugee assistance abroad

As in any other space of human interaction, in contexts where

refugees and “locals” meet, conflict may arise. Conflict may also

arise for refugees from many different backgrounds meeting in

precarious conditions. While many people understand conflict

as a normal occurrence, they often find it exhausting to expe-

Conflict-sensitive refugee assistance

Increasing justice

Cooperation, Integration


Graph by: Christoph Lang


Providing Conflict-Sensitive Refugee Assistance

rience and deal with it in their daily lives, as conflict indicates

fundamental, yet often unconscious, differences in feelings, understandings

and wants. These differences and their manifold

causes need a productive space. However, refugees and others

have few opportunities to meet as equals (namely as human beings

with dignity and a desire to live a fulfilled life; → Averting

Humiliation). We believe that creating spaces for conflict-sensitive,

non-discriminatory and trauma-sensitive encounters (e. g.

GIZ 2016) is an important contribution to peacebuilding (see

Figure 8).

An example of the above-mentioned spaces for encounter are

peace education workshops on conflict sensitivity in refugee

assistance, as conceptualised by the ong>Berghofong> Foundation. They

move beyond transmitting the concept itself towards providing

input and impetus on the three dimensions of peace education:

(1) competences, (2) capacities and (3) behaviour. The overall

aim is to contribute to peoples’ ability to live together peacefully.

(See also → Educating for Peace.)

At the ong>Berghofong> Foundation, we have developed the following ten

propositions for conflict-sensitive refugee assistance:

Conflict is a chance to grow, if we strengthen capacities for

dealing with conflict constructively.

We try to be mindful of our own attitudes towards conflict,

our behaviour in conflict and the (cultural) norms and experiences

that may shape them.

It is important to be aware that any action can exacerbate

or escalate conflict, but can also foster peaceful coexistence between


We strive to include all interested stakeholders early on, following

the principle of multipartiality, and meet each other as equals

while aiming to overcome all forms of discrimination and racism.

We need to be aware of our own needs, wishes, goals and

limitations in any interaction and reach out to understand the

needs, wishes and goals of our fellow human beings as well as

the specific limitations they face.


Providing Conflict-Sensitive Refugee Assistance

It is important to understand and critically reflect on the context

and conditions we come from and currently live in, and the

(historically evolved) power structures and dependencies associated

with them.

It is necessary to develop an understanding of the effects of

psychological trauma in someone’s life and how in turn this may

affect others, e. g. through secondary traumatisation caused by

memories of the events.

Dedicating time to exploring one’s emotional resources and

replenishing them on a regular basis is essential for one’s capacity

to act in a sensitive and empathetic manner in challenging


The current situation of refugees and their continuing arrival

require a change of mindset and changes in behaviour – in the

receiving societies and among the people arriving.

It is important to acknowledge and learn about the global

consequences of our own localised actions, and to begin to act


Following these principles, conflict sensitivity raises awareness

of the need of critical (self-)reflection. It helps to answer the

question: “Do we really do good when we mean to do good?” In

order to answer this question, it is important to understand the

(historically evolved) structures and dependencies often underlying

assistance, as it can otherwise reproduce and strengthen

these injustices despite being well-intentioned. Thomas Gebauer

describes the prevalent discourse: “A world that only knows

helpers and helped appears a lot more peaceful than a world

split into privileged and humiliated, into might and plight.

Might and plight appal, but who could possibly take offence at

help?” In the context of conflict-sensitive refugee assistance, it

is thus important to identify and overcome differences in opportunities

for political and social participation (e. g. access to

the job market), inequalities in living conditions and resource

distribution (e. g. land ownership), and economic power, as

well as all forms of discrimination and racism. In that sense,

conflict sensitivity not only helps to analyse current and past


Providing Conflict-Sensitive Refugee Assistance

situations in order to better understand the factors underlying

their conflictual dynamics. It also provides a framework and

empowerment to foresee and manage potential future challenges

by encouraging a change of perspectives and real dialogue

with “the other”, be it the beneficiary of assistance or all

other actors in the field.

Dealing with difficulties and dilemmas

Adding conflict sensitivity to the already demanding work in

professional and voluntary refugee assistance can appear to be

a daunting proposition. However, implementation (even if only

partial) can help to reduce stress on all actors as opportunities

within conflicts come to the forefront and frustration, coercion

and other escalating dynamics can be avoided. The ong>Berghofong>

Foundation’s experience shows that learning and applying conflict

sensitivity is a process that itself includes progress as well

as setbacks.

In public and academic discourse, the role of culture, intercultural

communication and so-called cultural conflicts are topics

of heated debate. Our conflict-sensitive approach does acknowledge

differences and similarities between people, in their

socio-cultural backgrounds and in their behaviour in conflicts.

However, attributing conflicts to cultural differences is often an

attempt to find a quick and easy solution to a difficult situation.

Instead of efforts being made to analyse and deal constructively

with the root causes of the conflict, perceived cultural differences

are either brushed away with calls for tolerance or are exploited

to delegitimise the other person or group.

Many fundamental approaches to managing conflict between

different groups are similar, e. g. dialogue, mediation and negotiation.

Training people to become more “literate” in reading

common situations and finding more creative ways to deal with

them can help in addressing and resolving some of the root causes

of conflict. Knowledge of cultural particularities is useful in


Providing Conflict-Sensitive Refugee Assistance

this context, as is any other knowledge about the conflict context

or parties.

Everyone – regardless of their socialisation, circumstances or

legal status – has capacities for constructive conflict transformation,

which can be developed (further). These capacities, together

with the interdependence of all people provide an ideal

ground for societies to move towards more justice, tolerance, cohesion

and, indeed, peace.

References and Further Reading

Isabella Bauer (2017). Unterbringung von Flüchtlingen in deutschen Kommunen:

Konfliktmediation und lokale Beteiligung. State-of-Research Papier 10. Bonn:

BICC. [in German]

CDA (2016). Do No Harm Workshop Trainer’s Manual. Cambridge, MA: Collaborative

Learning Projects.

Thomas Gebauer (2016). Mit Zäunen gegen Staatszerfall und soziale Ungleichheit?

Fluchtursachen bekämpfen geht anders! Speech in Hannover. [in German]

GIZ (2016). Psychosocial Support in Crisis and Conflict Settings. Eschborn: GIZ.

Dagmar Nolden and Cassandra Schützko (2016). Conflict Sensitive Refugee Assistance.

Documentation of Project Activities “Nonviolent Education in Jordan”.

Tübingen: ong>Berghofong> Foundation Peace Education.

Swisspeace (2017). Migration and Peacebuilding. A Propos Magazine No 153.

Bern: KOFF.

Online Resources

Resources on conflict sensitivity, www.conflictsensitivity.org

INEE, http://www.ineesite.org/en/conflict-sensitive-education

UNESCO, http://www.unesco.org/new/en/communication-and-information/



kontext.flucht [in German], https://www.ida-nrw.de/fileadmin/user_upload/



Researching Conflict Transformation

18 Researching Conflict


Véronique Dudouet and Andreas Schädel

“Research that produces nothing but books will not suffice.”

Kurt Lewin

Conflicts are inevitable components of human development

and social change (→ Addressing Social Grievances). Violence

in conflict, however, is not inevitable. Conflict transformation

research seeks to explore conditions, strategies and policies for

sustaining patterns of non-violent behaviour among conflict

parties, particularly in protracted social and ethnopolitical conflicts.

It aims to support conflict parties in building, restoring

and maintaining constructive, just relations in order to abolish

the use of force as a means of interaction. In this context,


Researching Conflict Transformation

PARTICIPATORY (ACTION) RESEARCH | accumulates knowledge

and enhances understanding of how social interactions function,

while at the same time intervening in a direct and practical way.

In order to ensure ownership and inclusiveness, it involves the

actors being studied in the process on an ongoing basis. In this

sense, it is particularly well suited to the endeavour of conflict


conflicts and their management should not be looked upon as

simplistic linear phenomena that start, escalate and stop for all

actors and all sectors in the same way (→ Working on Conflict

Dynamics). The interdependent and systemic dimensions, as

well as the dynamic nature of conflict therefore need to be more

fully understood.

Research and practice informing each other

Conflict transformation research does not encompass a grand

theory, but generates theory elements from field research and

from close interaction with practitioners and the conflicting parties

themselves. Nevertheless, it is theory-guided. Of particular

importance is theorising that addresses the differences between

inter-personal and inter-group → Conflict Transformation, and

between symmetrical and asymmetrical conflicts. Moreover,

research on conflict transformation incorporates knowledge of

various disciplines (political science, sociology and social psychology,

history, anthropology, ethnology, law, communication,

education and more).

Conflict transformation research can be considered a specific

strand of peace and conflict research which pays particular attention

to bringing about supportive conditions for practical progress

in peacemaking and peacebuilding. It starts from the premise

that concepts and theory must evolve in a continuous, reflec-


Researching Conflict Transformation

tive and critical exchange with practice, which involves putting

concepts to the test in practical settings and debating their validity

with practitioners from many backgrounds and in many

localities. Strong links to the field of policy are also required, by

consulting national and international decision-makers during

the research design stage, and feeding the results back to them

in the form of targeted recommendations. In brief: theoretical

approaches should contribute to developing new political and

social strategies, and conflict transformation practice should inspire

ideas on theory.

Whenever conflicting parties, practitioners and policy-makers

are involved in research, it is essential to consider the diversity of

actors’ interests. By bringing the actors to the fore, deeper sociocultural

and behavioural aspects of action and decision-making

can be explored in the context of change. Following this methodology,

the research agenda is influenced and shaped increasingly

by those who are immediately affected by its results. The

growing interest of practitioners in becoming involved in inclusive

patterns of research has begun to narrow the gap by reconciling

the communities of research and practice, by motivating

both towards collective learning and by encouraging researchers

to collaborate with practitioners to create reflective feedback

loops. Collaborative research in joint teams, aimed at supporting

conflict transformation, increases the knowledge of how different

actors, processes and structures contribute (or not) to peacebuilding

processes. The ong>Berghofong> Foundation considers inclusive,

bottom-up, participatory and reflective methods of research – of

which action research elements are an important part – a great

opportunity for generating the knowledge and support necessary

for sustained conflict transformation.

Action research: participatory, inclusive and change-oriented

Action research can be useful in this context as one of several research

methods. The first projects evolved in the 1970s, mainly in

the university sector and in work with marginalised groups and


Researching Conflict Transformation

urban districts, but also in community projects in Latin America,

most often led by social psychologists. The purpose of action research

is to undertake studies into the conditions and impacts of

various forms of social action. It also aspires to influence social

action; in other words, it is normative in focus. Its agenda concentrates

on specific social grievances.

The main objective of the research is not to test theoretical hypotheses

but to bring about practical change in the problematic

situation which is the subject of study. This is viewed as a holistic

social process: individual variables are not isolated and collected

as “objective data”; instead, data collection itself is interpreted

as part of the social process. Action research involves the

use of qualitative approaches based on empirical social research,

including the evaluation of project reports, participatory monitoring,

individual or group interviews with project participants

and members of the target groups, and surveys, but also ethnographic

methods and creative forms of investigation such as theatre.

The methods aim to exert direct influence on events within

society. The researcher temporarily abandons his or her distance

to the research object and is intensively involved, during certain

phases, in the process being studied. The subjects being observed

and studied are not cast in a passive role but participate

actively in the debate about objectives and in data collection and

evaluation. For the researchers, a precise definition of roles and

ongoing self-reflection are essential.

Action research therefore not only attempts to accumulate knowledge

and enhance understanding of how social interactions

function; it intervenes in a direct and practical way. In order to

ensure ownership and inclusiveness, it involves the actors being

studied in the process on an ongoing basis. Academic findings

are thus translated into practice, and research concepts and theoretical

constructs are subjected to practical testing at the same

time. The continuous feedback of results to project participants,

through workshops and discussion of interim and final reports,

is essential. Designed for a longer timeframe, action research


Researching Conflict Transformation

The action research process







relations of




individual attitudes

and behaviour

Graph by: Christoph Lang

Figure 9, source: ong>Berghofong> Foundation

can provide valuable information about the opportunities for,

and limits to, peacebuilding strategies. For instance, the ong>Berghofong>

Foundation trains female ex-combatants in four countries to collect

video testimonies from their peers in order to document and

analyse the challenges and opportunities faced by female members

of armed movements in the wake of post-war political transitions.

This knowledge produced by insider experts will then be

integrated into training and capacity-building programmes for

resistance and liberation movements and shared with international

peacebuilding agencies.


Researching Conflict Transformation

Practical needs determine appropriate research methods

It is certainly true that not every peacebuilding measure can be

accompanied by a comprehensive research project, as in most

cases those who fund peace practice will finance short-term

evaluations at best. Nor can action research be considered the

one and only approach or method – in partnership with others,

the ong>Berghofong> Foundation implements a multi-method approach

integrating qualitative, quantitative and experimental methods.

As described above, substantial action research requires longterm

field research, which does not usually correspond with the

budgets and funding lines of academic (or other) donor agencies.

Furthermore, not all practical engagement lends itself to being

the object of research, especially given the discreet confidential

settings required for effective peace processes. Nevertheless, in

order to improve knowledge of peace practice, the underlying

ideas of action research can help in designing and implementing

projects that aim to support the creation of inclusive structures

and sustained practices of non-violent interaction. These

include, above all: respect towards those who are subjects of the

study, clarification of the roles and aims of those who conduct

the research, involvement of the stakeholders in the development

of research questions and hypotheses, and transparency of

results through the use of feedback loops.

References and Further Reading

Oliver Ramsbotham, Tom Woodhouse and Hugh Miall (2016). Contemporary

Conflict Resolution. Fourth, fully updated and revised edition. Cambridge:

Polity Press.

Peter Reason and Hilary Bradbury (eds.) (2006). The SAGE Handbook of Action

Research. London: Sage.

Peter Schlotter and Simone Wisotzki (Hrsg.) (2011). Friedens- und Konfliktforschung.

Baden-Baden: Nomos.

Elisabeth Wood (2006). The Ethical Challenges of Field Research in Conflict Zones.

Qualitative Sociology 29(3), 373–386.

Nigel J. Young (ed.) (2010). The Oxford International Encyclopaedia of Peace.

Oxford: University Press.


Researching Conflict Transformation

Online Resources

Life & Peace Institute (2016). Participatory Action Research (PAR) as a tool for

transforming conflict. A case study from south central Somalia. Uppsala: Life

& Peace Institute. https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/


Louis Kriesberg (2011). The State of the Art in Conflict Transformation, in: ong>Berghofong>

Handbook for Conflict Transformation, online edition. https://www.berghoffoundation.org/fileadmin/redaktion/Publications/Handbook/Articles/


Martina Fischer (2009). Participatory Evaluation and Critical Peace Research:

A Precondition for Peacebuilding, in: Beatrix Schmelzle and Martina Fischer

(eds.) Peacebuilding at a Crossroads? Dilemmas and Paths for Another

Generation. ong>Berghofong> Handbook Dialogue Series No. 7. Berlin: ong>Berghofong>

Research Center for Constructive Conflict Management. https://www.berghoffoundation.org/fileadmin/redaktion/Publications/Handbook/Dialogue_



Transforming Conflict

19 Transforming Conflict

Nina Bernarding and Beatrix Austin

“It is possible to solve a conflict and not change much …”

John Paul Lederach

In the face of violent conflict, there are three main impulses. The

first is immediate: to stop it. The second is a medium- term one

and focuses on dealing with the wounds resulting from the violence.

The third, a long-term one, is to change the underlying

conditions that have led, and may lead again, to violence. We understand

conflict transformation as a comprehensive approach

that attempts to achieve the last of these three goals, without

neglecting the others.

There is a considerable range of approaches to working on conflict.

At the ong>Berghofong> Foundation, conflict transformation was chosen as


Transforming Conflict

CONFLICT TRANSFORMATION | a complex process of constructively

changing relationships, attitudes, behaviours, interests

and discourses in violence-prone conflict settings. Importantly,

conflict transformation addresses and changes underlying structures,

cultures and institutions that encourage and condition violent

political and social conflict over the long term.

a guiding principle because it is seen as the most deep-reaching

and holistic conceptualisation of the constructive changes needed

to build a long-lasting peace that is perceived as just.

The concept of transformation

We define conflict transformation as a complex process of constructively

changing relationships, attitudes, behaviours, interests

and discourses in violence-prone conflict settings. Importantly,

conflict transformation addresses and changes underlying

structures, cultures and institutions that encourage and

On terminology …

Conflict transformation is often contrasted with several other approaches:

conflict management (activities undertaken to limit,

mitigate and contain open conflict), conflict resolution (activities

undertaken over the short term and medium term dealing with,

and aiming at overcoming, the deep-rooted causes of conflict, including

the structural, behavioural, or attitudinal aspects of the

conflict), and conflict settlement (achievement of an agreement

between the conflict parties on a political level which enables

them to end an armed conflict). Proactive prevention of violent

conflict is also an important aspect of the conflict transformation

repertoire (→ Preventing Violence).


Transforming Conflict

condition violent political and social conflict. The term is used

in the works of several “founding figures” in peace and conflict

studies (among them Adam Curle, Johan Galtung, Louis Kriesberg,

Kumar Rupesinghe and Raimo Väyrynen), but it has been

elaborated most specifically in the works of John Paul Lederach

and Diana Francis.

Conflict transformation is a non-linear and unpredictable process,

involving many different actors in moving from “latent and

overt violence to structural and cultural peace” (Dudouet 2006).

This long-term process requires transformative changes on many

levels and dimensions, as outlined in the table overleaf:

What does this mean in practical terms? Take, for example, Kenya

and the violence and political crisis it experienced in the wake of

contested general elections in 2007/2008. On the one hand, the

Kenyan National Dialogue and Reconciliation Process, initiated

by the African Union, was tasked to take immediate measures to

stop the violence. On the other hand, the mandate also included

reconciliation and social justice issues in the medium term and

constitutional, legal and institutional reform in the long run to

address the root causes. And while initially the process focused

on the ruling and opposition parties, it later included people at

the local and community level as well. (The 2017 flares of election

violence in the country, however, also remind us that transformative

change is rarely quick or all-encompassing. It needs

to be defended and re-asserted, and result in change that shifts

citizens’ trust in their institutions.)

Third-party engagement

While in any violent conflict-setting there are people committing

violence and others benefiting from the conflict, we also always

find people working towards peace and peaceful change from

within society – the agents of peaceful transformation. They are

able to embrace one of the central principles of conflict transformation:

that conflict is not a bad thing in itself; indeed, it is often


Transforming Conflict

1. Context


2. Structure


3. Actor


4. Issue


5. Personal/elite


in the international or regional


from asymmetric to symmetric


in power structures

of markets of violence and civil

war economies (in conflicts

dominated by economic motives

of material profit)

of leadership

of goals

inside the political parties

in transcendence of contested issues

towards constructive compromisis

of issues (policies)

of perspective

of heart

of will

Table 3, source: Hugh Miall, 2004

a driver of necessary change. It is the violence in waging conflict

that brings harm.

External experts, such as policy-makers, researchers and nongovernmental

workers, can support these agents of change, e. g.

by connecting them, or offering ideas, expertise or negotiation


Transforming Conflict

support. However, external engagers should not only support

the agents of peaceful transformation. They also need to understand

the motivations of the so-called “spoilers”. As Dekha

Ibrahim Abdi puts it when referring to the violent actions of the

youth in Kenya: “You don’t see them as a problem, but you see

them as people needing to be understood […] and then they become

part of the strategy development.”

Moreover, it has become clear that conflict transformation efforts

need to encompass many levels, tracks and sectors: governments

and non-state actors; women and men; youth; conflict parties

and peace envoys; and representatives of diaspora and business.

External engagement can play an important role in supporting

and connecting the different actors and levels.

The engagement of external actors rests on specific principles,

which form a code of conduct. One important set of principles

describes the respect for local capacities and ownership, inclusivity

and multipartiality of processes, and fair play. A second set

describes the personal qualities that are needed in engagement

for conflict transformation and peacebuilding: empathy, humility,

self-reflection, and the tenacity and perseverance to achieve

incremental change over the long run, often in the face of serious


Systemic conflict transformation

Systemic approaches to conflict transformation have been explored

under different “labels”: some call this type of work holistic,

some multidimensional. Building on family therapy and

systems analysis, at the ong>Berghofong> Foundation, we have chosen the

term “systemic” to describe a particular and important set of approaches

to managing the complexity and challenges of conflict

transformation engagement. Its basic principles (developed by

Daniela Körppen and Norbert Ropers, among others) are:

thinking in network structures

thinking in dynamic frames and in terms of relationships


Transforming Conflict

emphasising solutions which already exist within the (conflict)

system rather than just focusing on identifying problems

accepting ambivalence and contingency as well as acknowledging

perspective dependency

concentrating on human beings and their learning processes

These principles translate into practical mindsets, attitudes and

procedures: working closely with key stakeholders, mobilising

key agents of peaceful and creative change, putting an emphasis

on system-wide conflict analysis and conflict monitoring, investing

in strategic planning of systemic interventions and pursuing

creativity in solutions. Any systemic engagement is an ongoing

cycle. First, there is observation, which has to be longer-term

and include a change of perspectives. Then follows work with

and within the conflict/conflict transformation system, which

leads to change and the evolution of all involved. This, in turn,

requires renewed observation to reflect on theories of change

and impacts observed, but importantly also on mistakes made

and misunderstandings that have arisen (See Figure 10, see also

→ Learning Together). Any intervention should in this way focus

on the complexity of the conflict system and embrace both internal

and external factors and actors.

Critique and open questions

Conflict transformation is not without its challenges and critics.

It calls, some will argue, for such wide-ranging and deepreaching

change in the social fabric that it seems far-fetched or

naïve. Some argue that it may actually intensify conflict in the

short run by proposing a disturbing process of change which

touches (and threatens) beliefs, relationships, power, positions

and status. Some claim that it can only be a guiding notion, a

distant vision, rather than a fully implemented programme. But

the ong>Berghofong> Foundation believes it is vital for achieving sustainable

peace that lasts generations. In any case, (systemic) conflict

transformation cannot be planned and implemented by one

actor alone – it takes many different contributions. How these


Transforming Conflict

contributions can be elicited, connected and made to add up to

“peace writ large” is a serious challenge. Currently, the ong>Berghofong>

Foundation is exploring scenario planning and process design

as one inclusive, creative and tangible approach (Bojer 2018). An

important area of improvement highlighted in the evaluation of

conflict transformation practice is that effective, long-term work

requires some form of institutionalisation (and resourcing), a

topic discussed often under the heading of Infrastructures for


The systemic engagement cycle

1. Observing the system

3. Evolving along with the system

2. Working with and within the system

Figure 10, source: Barbara Unger and Oliver Wils, 2006


Transforming Conflict

References and Further Reading

Diana Francis (2010). From Pacification to Peacebuilding: A Call to Global Transformation.

London: Pluto Press.

Daniela Körppen, Norbert Ropers and Hans J. Giessmann (eds.) (2011). The

Non-Linearity of Peace Processes – Theory and Practice of Systemic Conflict

Transformation. Opladen/Farmington Hills: Barbara Budrich Publishers.

John Paul Lederach (2003). The Little Book of Conflict Transformation. Intercourse,

PA: Good Books.

Audra Mitchell (2011). Lost in Transformation: Violent Peace and Peaceful Conflict

in Northern Ireland. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan UK.

Online Resources

Mille Bøjer (2018). Transformative Scenarios Process, in ong>Berghofong> Handbook for

Conflict Transformation, online edition, https://www.berghof-foundation.org/


Véronique Dudouet (2006). Transitions from Violence to Peace: Revisiting Analysis

and Intervention in Conflict Transformation. ong>Berghofong> Report No. 15. Berlin:

ong>Berghofong> Research Center for Constructive Conflict Management. https://www.



Owen Frazer and Lakhdar Ghettas (2013). Conflict Transformation in Practice:

Approaches to Conflict Transformation – Lessons from Algeria, Denmark,

Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Tajikistan and Yemen. Geneva: Cordoba New Forum,


Hugh Miall (2004). Conflict Transformation: A Multi-Dimensional Task, in ong>Berghofong>

Handbook for Conflict Transformation, online edition, https://www.berghoffoundation.org/fileadmin/redaktion/Publications/Handbook/Articles/


Barbara Unger and Oliver Wils (2006): Systemic Conflict Transformation: Guiding

principles for practitioners and policy makers working on conflict. Berlin:

ong>Berghofong> Foundation for Peace Support. https://www.berghof-foundation.org/




Working on Conflict Dynamics: Escalation and Radicalisation

20 Working on Conflict

Dynamics: Escalation and


Basma Abdelaziz, Karin Göldner-Ebenthal, Lara Azzam

and Cassandra Schützko

“Conflict is a necessity for communities when there are diverging


Ibn Khaldun

If we look at conflicts closely, different dynamics, layers, purposes,

stakeholders and interests become visible. In-depth conflict

analysis is indispensable for understanding the dynamics

between conflict actors and engaging them in conflict transformation.

As a USAID conflict assessment framework points out,


Working on Conflict Dynamics: Escalation and Radicalisation

CONFLICT | a perceived incompatibility of interests, needs and

wants between individuals or groups. Conflict transformation regards

conflict as a necessary part of (social) change processes,

yet upholds that the means of waging conflict can and should be

non-violent means.

ESCALATION | a process of conflict intensification usually referring

to a social setting. If left unchecked, it may lead to mutually

destructive or violent behaviour. Accordingly, de-escalation is

a process of conflict mitigation usually referring to a social setting.

Importantly, conflict transformation regards de-escalation

as possible in all settings. However, de-escalation rarely just

mirrors escalation in return, as loss of trust often needs careful


RADICALISATION | a process of adopting ideologies set apart

from mainstream thinking, sometimes going to the roots or perceived

pure understandings of religion or politics. Often referring

to individuals. Importantly, conflict transformation acknowledges

that radicalism is not necessarily violent or bad. De-radicalisation

is a process of bringing individuals and sometimes groups

back to a more mainstream thinking and ideology.

“armed conflict is driven by key actors in society – individuals,

but also organisational actors of all sorts – who actively mobilize

people and resources to engage in acts of violence on the basis of

grievance, such as a group’s perception that it has been excluded

from political and economic life. Key mobilisers may have different

means and incentives that affect the methods they employ to

achieve their objectives; violence is only one tactic among many.”

(See also → Addressing Social Grievances.)

Escalation and radicalisation in conflict

The dynamics of actors confronting each other in (protracted) conflict

are usually described as steps towards escalation. In recent


Working on Conflict Dynamics: Escalation and Radicalisation

debates on violent extremism, the term radicalisation has also

gained prominence. These two terms have different meanings, although

they are used interchangeably at times, as no commonly

accepted definitions exist.

Escalation, as understood by Friedrich Glasl (1999), focuses on

the dynamics of groups or individuals in a conflict setting (see

Table 4 below). Understanding its stages is key to figuring out the

appropriate time and style of intervention to halt the worsening

of a conflict. Radicalisation is most often understood as an intrapersonal

and highly individual process. As such, although by no

means independent of context, it is not necessarily related to a

conflict setting. A large set of push and pull factors have been

identified that influence each person individually and can – but

do not have to! – lead to radicalisation.

It is important to stress this: radicalisation and escalation can

lead to violence but there is no automatic “stairway”. Rather,

escalation and radicalisation are processes that can stop and

stabilise at any level and point in time or even reverse into de-escalation

and de-radicalisation. In current debates around violent

extremism, radicalisation is often used in reference to violence

but there is no constitutive link between the two (cf. figure 11).

The central role of education

Approaches to influence these dynamics focus either on preventing

escalation or radicalisation from starting or intensifying, or

on supporting de-escalation and de-radicalisation after they

have happened. The two approaches are not clear-cut. Significant

overlap exists in the work of conflict de-escalation/de-radicalisation

and violence prevention. Both approaches use dialoguebased

methods that aim to address the existing or potential root

causes of a conflict or a radicalisation process. Understanding

the feelings and motives of actors leading to a particular (violent)

action or behaviour is at the core of both approaches.


Working on Conflict Dynamics: Escalation and Radicalisation

Radicalisation processes

No automatic stairway of radicalisation

No automatic stairway of de-radicalisation

• Disintegration

• Discriminiation

• Identity conflicts

• Social and

political tensions

• etc.

• Knowledge

• Authority

• Orientation

• Interpretation

• etc.

• Online-/offline


• Violent/


• etc.

Reversible radicalisation / de-radicalisation processes

Graph by: Christoph Lang

Figure 11, based on P. Neumann

Interventions can address individuals directly or indirectly via

their communities and institutions. They can also work simultaneously

on the individual and community or institutional level.

In the ong>Berghofong> Foundation’s experience, this is the most effective

way. Some institutions, for instance religious institutions, have

a mandate over individuals’ de-radicalisation, such as returned

foreign fighters, as well as over their constituency as a whole.

Understanding the (conflict) context, the conflictual issue and

relevant actors is therefore essential for any attempt to influence

actor dynamics and achieve conflict transformation.


Working on Conflict Dynamics: Escalation and Radicalisation

One of the main avenues in the long-term prevention of radicalisation

and violent escalation is quality education. For example, education

plays a crucial role in strengthening young people’s resilience

by enhancing skills such as reflective and critical thinking,

communication, and the ability to adopt different perspectives.

These skills help young people to better understand and evaluate

complex situations, including conflicts. They also support the

identification of better and workable solutions. The specific field

of peace education is critical to our work and aims to strengthen

people’s capacities to deal constructively with various types of

conflict. It does so by developing a comprehensive programme

that teaches people how to interact with others and avoid unnecessary

aggression (see also → Empowerment and Ownership).

Challenges and lessons learned in de-radicalisation and


Supporting or starting de-radicalisation and de-escalation processes

encounters several hurdles. One of them is often intense

in-group/out-group perceptions that limit access to the group

(or individual) and hence the scope to start any kind of dialogue.

Individuals are often radicalised by peer-to-peer influence and

motivated by group belonging; this may disconnect them from

mainstream institutions and official groups, often also as a result

of perceived marginalisation and oppression, and makes them

difficult to reach.

De-radicalisation efforts for individuals may take the form of

exit strategies that encourage radicalised individuals to leave a

group, or may involve working with those individuals once they

have been removed from their group. The latter often happens in

programmes conducted in prisons, for example, where access is

possible. Indirect approaches to de-radicalisation via communities

and institutions include supporting capacity- and strategybuilding

to either change the context and reduce possible push

and pull factors’ impact or to weaken narratives that are typical

of radicalisation processes, such as victimisation narratives.


Working on Conflict Dynamics: Escalation and Radicalisation

The Nine Levels of Conflict Escalation by Friedrich Glasl

1. Concretisation

The points of view become more

rigid and clash with each other.

However, there is still a belief

that conflict can be resolved through

discussion. No intransigent parties

or positions yet.

2. Debate

Polarisation in thinking, emotion and


Black-and-white thinking, perspectives

from positions of perceived


3. Deeds

“Talking is useless”.

Strategy of confronting each other with

“faits accomplis”. Loss of empathy

and danger of misinterpretation.

4. Images,


The different parties manoeuvre each

other into negative roles and engage in

open warfare.

They recruit supporters.

Table 4, source: ong>Berghofong> Foundation

In addition, a degree of context-sensitivity and adaptation are

necessary. A “one size fits all approach” can do more harm

than good, perhaps by not using language sensitively and by

stereotypical targeting of communities, which can create resentment,

for example when Muslim communities are broadly


Working on Conflict Dynamics: Escalation and Radicalisation

5. Loss of Face

Public and direct attacks which aim

at the opponent’s loss of face.

6. Strategies

of Intimidation

Threats and counter-threats.

Escalation in the conflict through an


7. Limited Acts

of Destruction

The opponent is no longer viewed

as a human being. Limited acts

of destruction as a “suitable” answer.

Value reversal: small personal defeats

are already valued as victories.

8. Fragmentation

The destruction and total disbanding

of the enemy system becomes the goal.

9. Together into

the Abyss

Total confrontation without any get-out


The opponent must be destroyed at any

price – even that of self-destruction.

targeted for de-radicalisation projects. One solution to this is to

work with civil society actors who have insights into the local



Working on Conflict Dynamics: Escalation and Radicalisation

De-escalation efforts that address groups vary depending on the

level of escalation in relation to the use of violence and the general

conflict context. Security and military-based strategies are

often used in “countering violent extremism”. However, if the

context allows and there is a window of opportunity, engaging a

non-state armed actor in dialogue for de-escalation can be much

more effective. This, however, depends much on the actor itself.

Véronique Dudouet has identified factors that facilitate or constrain

dialogue with non-state or proscribed armed groups. Her

study highlights a combination of factors that need to align, such

as leadership, organisational structure and social legitimacy.

While most attention is on groups that have escalated to the level

of using violence, de-escalation efforts can and ideally should

start before the outbreak of violence. Here again, the role of relevant

communities, of respected traditional or religious leaders,

the business community but also of youth and women should

be considered. They may well have the access, resources and

trust required for creating space to engage groups in dialogue.

Once this space is established, a de-escalation process can start

to address the means by which the conflict is conducted – i. e.

ending violence through a ceasefire agreement – as well as addressing

the core conflict issues (see → Mediation and Mediation

Support and → Facilitating Negotiation and Dialogue). Inclusivity

(and participation) are crucial in de-escalation (as well as in

de-radicalisation and prevention). They can help to avoid (re-)

escalation by supporting legitimacy in a locally driven process,

for example in National Dialogue processes.

A way forward …

Robert Frost, the poet, once wrote, “More than once I should

have lost my soul to radicalism if it had been the originality it

was mistaken for by its young converts.” For dialogue, mediation

and conflict transformation practitioners, it is crucial to

acknowledge that anyone may be susceptible to radicalisation

and violence in today’s world, and hence to refrain from stigma-


Working on Conflict Dynamics: Escalation and Radicalisation

tisation and overgeneralisation, while having a broad and alert

approach to the dynamics and the ever-changing setting of the

conflict. At the ong>Berghofong> Foundation, we therefore engage in research

that focuses on areas less well understood: the patterns

of resilience and vulnerability in communities, or the dynamics

within groups that either mobilise towards violence or incentivise

non-violence. With this approach, we aim to promote a holistic

approach that is inclusive and constructive in nature.

References and Further Reading

Véronique Dudouet (2010). Mediating Peace with Proscribed Armed Groups. USIP

Special Report 239. Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace.

Jennifer Philippa Eggert (2018). The Roles of Women in Counter-Radicalisation

and Disengagement (CRaD) Processes: Best Practices and Lessons Learned

from Europe and the Arab World. Berlin: ong>Berghofong> Foundation.

Friedrich Glasl (1999). Confronting Conflict: A First-Aid Kit for Handling Conflict.

Stroud: Hawthorn Press.

USAID (2012). Conflict Assessment Framework Version 2.0. Washington, DC.

Online Resources

Mohammed Abu Nimer (2018). Alternative Approaches to Transforming Violent

Extremism. The Case of Islamic Peace and Interreligious Peacebuilding. In:

Transformative Approaches to Violent Extremism. Edited by Beatrix Austin

and Hans J. Giessmann. ong>Berghofong> Handbook Dialogue Series No. 13. https://



Preventing Violent Extremism. An introduction to education and preventing violent

extremism. INEE Thematic Paper September 2017. http://s3.amazonaws.com/


Peter R. Neumann (2017). Countering Violent Extremism and Radicalisation that

Lead to Terrorism: Ideas, Recommendations, and Good Practices from the

OSCE Region. Vienna: OSCE. https://www.osce.org/chairmanship/346841?d


Ufuq (2018). Empowering Refugees! Prevention of Religious Extremism through

Social and Educational Work with Refugees. Berlin: ufuq e.V. http://www.ufuq.


UNDP (2017). Journey to Extremism in Africa. http://journey-to-extremism.undp.





About the ong>Berghofong> Foundation

The ong>Berghofong> Foundation is an independent, non-governmental

and non-profit organisation that supports efforts to prevent

political and social violence, and to achieve sustainable peace

through conflict transformation.

Our vision is a world in which people maintain peaceful relations

and overcome violence as a means of political and social change.

While we consider conflict to be an integral and often necessary

part of political and social life, we believe that violence in conflict

is not inevitable. We are convinced that protracted violent

conflicts can be transformed into sustained collaboration, when

spaces for conflict transformation allow drivers of change to

prosper and constructively engage with one another.

“Creating space for conflict transformation.” We work with likeminded

partners in selected regions to enable conflict stakeholders

and actors to develop non-violent responses in the face

of conflict-related challenges. In doing so, we rely on the knowledge,

skills and resources available in the areas of conflict research,

peace support and peace education. By combining our

regional experience with a thematic focus on cutting-edge issues,

we aim to be a learning organisation capable of supporting sustained

efforts for conflict transformation.

To fulfil our mission and achieve our vision, we work closely with

partners and networks. The ong>Berghofong> Foundation staff maintain

close contact with local partners, representatives of international

NGOs, political parties, members of parliament and ministries,

and also with international organisations such as the United

Nations and the European Union.

The ong>Berghofong> Foundation’s headquarters are located in Berlin, Germany.

In addition, the Foundation maintains maintains branch



offices in Tübingen (Georg Zundel House for Peace Education)

and Beirut.


ong>Berghofong> Foundation

Lindenstrasse 34, 10969 Berlin, Germany

Phone: +49 (0)30 844154-0, Fax: +49 (0)30 844154-99

Email: info@berghof-foundation.org

ong>Berghofong> Foundation/Peace Education

Corrensstrasse 12, 72076 Tübingen, Germany

Phone: +49 (0)7071 920510; Fax: +49 (0)7071 920511

Website: www.berghof-foundation.org

Twitter: @ong>Berghofong>Fnd

Facebook: /ong>Berghofong>Foundation

11 Milestones

Established during the height of the Cold War by Professor

Dr. Georg Zundel, the ong>Berghofong> Foundation can look back at a

history of success. Over the past forty years peacebuilding has

become firmly rooted in research, practice and education in Germany

(and internationally). By supporting hundreds of projects

and helping to establish several institutions, the Foundation has

become a defining part of that history.


The ong>Berghofong> Foundation for Conflict Studies is founded by Georg

Zundel as a private limited company with charitable tax exempt

status under German law. Initial support provided for critical

analyses of the arms race during the Cold War.




Beginning of support for the Association (later Institute) for

Peace Education Tübingen.


The Foundation establishes a research facility in Berlin, the Research

Institute of the ong>Berghofong> Foundation. Its emphasis is on

altering the dynamics of the arms race. In 1993, it becomes the

ong>Berghofong> Research Center for Constructive Conflict Management

(later ong>Berghofong> Conflict Research), shifting its focus to the resolution

of ethnopolitical conflict.


Groundwork is laid for the ong>Berghofong> Handbook for Conflict Transformation.

Practical and theoretical research takes place in the

Balkans and the Caucasus.


The Association for Peace Education Tübingen is awarded the

UNESCO Prize for Peace Education.


The Resource Network for Conflict Studies and Transformation

begins its sustained programme of local work with the conflict

parties in Sri Lanka.


The ong>Berghofong> Foundation for Peace Support (later ong>Berghofong> Peace

Support) is established to provide globally-oriented support for

peace processes.


Project work is extended to resistance and liberation movements

and former non-state armed groups. The network now spans 20





Founder Georg Zundel dies. His family resolves to carry on the

Foundation’s work.


Three areas that had been operating independently – conflict research,

peace support and peace education – are integrated into

a new entity: the ong>Berghofong> Foundation.


The ong>Berghofong> Foundation, grown to over 80 staff, moves to its new

Berlin headquarter in Lindenstrasse 34.

Photo Credits

Page 12, Addressing Social Grievances: Sascha Montag/


Page 20, Averting Humiliation: Sascha Montag/Zeitenspiegel

Page 27, Breaking Deadlocks: MENA programme, ong>Berghofong>


Page 35, Building and Sustaining Peace: Jared L. Ordway

Page 42, Dealing with the Past: Antonia Zennaro/Zeitenspiegel

Page 49, Educating for Peace: PEGL programme, ong>Berghofong>


Page 57, Empowerment and Ownership: Uli Reinhardt/


Page 64, Engaging Donors: Frank Schultze/Zeitenspiegel

Page 71, Establishing i4p: Kristof Gosztonyi

Page 79, Facilitating Negotiation and Dialogue: MENA

programme, ong>Berghofong> Foundation

Page 86, Fostering Human Security: Frank Schultze/


Page 93, Gender and Youth: Rainer Kwiotek/Zeitenspiegel

Page 100, Inclusivity and Participation: Frank Schultze/




Page 107, Learning Together: PEGL programme, ong>Berghofong>


Page 115, Mediation and Mediation Support: MENA programme,

ong>Berghofong> Foundation

Page 123, Preventing Violence: Dagmar Nolden

Page 130, Providing Conflict-Sensitive Refugee Assistance:

Rainer Kwiotek/Zeitenspiegel

Page 138, Researching Conflict Transformation: Kristof


Page 146, Transforming Conflict: Uli Reinhardt/Zeitenspiegel

Page 153, Working on Conflict Dynamics: Frank Schultze/



A Adaptive Learning 9, 53, 72, 107–114, 158/159

Age 15, 32, 93–99, 129

Agents of Change 39, 147, 149/150

C Conflict 8/9, 12/13, 15, 18, 22/23, 27, 32, 37, 50–52,

57,82, 84, 88, 102, 115/116, 124, 133/134,

136, 153, 154, 160, 162

Conflict Analysis 119/120, 131, 150, 153/154, 146

Conflict Resolution 18, 38, 44, 59

Conflict Transformation 8, 24, 59/60, 66/67, 91, 95/96, 109, 110,

138–144, 145–152, 154, 162, 164

Conflict Prevention

→ Violence prevention

Conflict–sensitive Refugee

Assistance 130–137

Conflict Sensitivity 130–137, esp. 131

Conscientisation 59, 61

D Dealing with the Past 15, 39, 42–48, 51, 73, 77, 126

De-escalation 24, 124, 153–161

De-radicalisation 153–161

Development 28, 36/37, 39, 40/41, 45, 50, 59, 61, 65,

88/89, 91, 105, 127, 133

Dialogue 9/10, 17/18, 25, 29, 32, 33, 51, 55, 59, 61,

69, 73, 77, 79–85, 96, 116, 120, 136, 155, 157,


Dignity 9, 20–26, 86, 91, 134

Distrust 17, 20–26



E Empathy 20, 25, 52, 54, 82/83, 120, 149, 158

Empowerment 9, 17, 36, 39, 54/55, 57–63, 85, 136, 157

Escalation 8, 15, 22, 32, 82, 153–161

Evaluation 50, 55, 66, 75, 107–114, 132, 141, 143, 151

Exclusion 8, 12–14, 30, 74, 95, 101–104

External actors; 28/29, 62, 119, 149

see also Third Parties

F Facilitation 9/10, 39, 51, 53, 79–85, 96, 101, 110, 116/117,

118, 120, 160

Femininities 94

Funding 64–70, 74, 111, 143

G Gender 21, 40, 45, 58, 61/62, 93–99, 102

H Humiliation 20–26, 120, 134

I Inclusivity 7, 9, 32, 37, 39, 47, 67/68, 74/75, 76, 97,

100–106, 119, 121, 128, 139–141 143, 149,

151, 160/161

Inequality 12–16, 57/58, 123

Injustice 12–14, 20, 22, 39, 43–45, 58/59, 123, 135

Insider Mediators 73, 75, 76, 117–119

Institutions, working with … 16, 28/29, 37, 44, 49/50, 60–62, 65, 67–69,

72–77, 103/104, 124, 128, 146/147, 151,


J Justice 20–26, 35–37, 39, 41, 42ff., 51/52, 73,

76/77, 96, 132/133, 137, 147

L Local Capacities 28, 46, 52, 55, 105, 120, 128/129, 142, 157

Local Ownership 9, 46, 59, 62, 102

M Masculinities 62, 94

Mediation 18, 22, 29, 40, 59, 61, 73, 76, 81, 84,

115–122, 136, 160

Military Spending 65

Monitoring 66, 107–114, 132, 141, 150

Multipartiality 9/10, 39, 61, 69, 118, 134, 149

N National Dialogue 31, 72, 74, 101, 103/104, 119, 121, 147, 160

Negotiation 9, 18, 29, 30, 32, 38, 40, 51, 59, 76, 79–85,

88, 96, 102–104, 116–120, 136, 148

Non–violence 9, 12, 13, 15–18, 40, 52, 56, 65, 116/117, 119,

124, 128/129, 138, 143, 154, 161, 162

P Participation 9, 16, 25, 32, 37, 47, 52/53, 59, 61, 74, 83,

96, 100–106, 128, 135, 139–141, 160

Participatory (Action) Research 139–141


Peace 8/9, 20/21, 22, 27/28, 35–41, 43, 45, 47,

49–52, 59, 64/65, 71/72, 84, 91, 96, 110/111,

121, 127, 132/133, 137, 143, 146, 150, 162

Peace and Conflict Studies 15, 139, 147

Peacebuilding 8–10, 46, 53, 35–41, 58, 65ff., 71, 73/74,

76, 77, 79/80, 83/84, 97, 101, 104, 110/111,

123/124, 132–134, 139/140, 142, 149

Peacemaking 37, 40, 80, 104, 116, 121, 139

Peace Education 9/10, 49–56, 73, 124, 127, 134, 157, 162/163,


Peace Infrastructure(s) 33, 71–78

Peace Process(es) 9/10, 27–34, 41, 46/47, 54, 68, 74, 80,

94–98, 101–103, 105, 119, 143



Power Asymmetry 58/59, 84, 134, 148


→ Violence Prevention

Public–private Partnership 68/69

R Radicalisation 14, 125, 153–161

Reconciliation 23–25, 42–48, 147

Resilience 72/73, 121, 127, 157, 161

Respect 20/21, 23, 38/39, 50, 80, 82, 85, 143, 149,


S Security 9, 14, 41, 65/66, 86–92, 94, 97, 104,

124–127, 160

Social Grievances 8, 12–19, 39, 57, 101, 103, 116, 123, 138, 141,


Social Stability 12–19

Social Tension 12–19

Social Upheaval 12–19

Systemic Conflict Transformation 149/150

Systemic Thinking 23, 109–113, 124, 139, 149–151

T Theories of Change 84, 108/109, 150

Third Parties; 18, 30, 32, 80, 115–117, 119, 121, 147

see also External Actors

Transformative Learning 112/113

Transitional Justice 23–25, 39, 42–48, 51, 73, 77, 128

Trauma Sensitivity 134

Trust 9, 20–26, 30, 44, 74, 100, 104, 119–121, 147,

154, 160

Trust Building 24/25, 39, 68, 104

Truth 45/46, 72, 77, 82


Violence (physical, structural,

cultural) 13–16, 23, 35/36, 42, 45, 50–52, 58/59,

72/73, 94–96, 123–124ff., 147

Violence Prevention 15, 59, 66, 96, 123–129, 132, 155, 166

Violent Extremism 89, 126, 155, 160


ong>Berghofong> Foundation

Operations GmbH

Lindenstrasse 34

10969 Berlin


Phone +49 (0)30 844154-0

Fax +49 (0)30 844154-99



Twitter @ong>Berghofong>Fnd

Facebook /ong>Berghofong>Foundation

ISBN 978-3-941514-36-2

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